Encelia farinosa


Kristi Maxwell



Encelia farinosa, or, Should a lid be lent to extend preservation,

the eye need not be asked


Brittlebush, which pushes its flowers out

as if gambling with an eye: gold coins,

the fist-shaped shrub brightened with a load of them;

brittlebush, which leads to bristle and brush,

teeth taken care of, its resin a prince

holding court in a mouth, rinsed and keeping white

despite its yellowed bloom. The brittlebush

a little bush compared to taller things.

Leaves, not left alone, but a home

to many short hairs, shorting the air

of moisture, hoarding it. Few mouths bore

through the body of the brittlebush,

though boarded often enough. A hover fly

here in spite of the spider that hopes to have it,

to make it hoverless, post-coveting.

Unendangered and to the desert endeared,

brittlebush’s placement engineered to smear out erosion

near highways—itself a burning bush when made

to burn for noses, urns that they are, to store.




Kristi Maxwell is the author of Re- (Ahsahta Press, 2011), Hush Sessions (Saturnalia Books, 2009), and Realm Sixty-four (Ahsahta, 2008), along with the chapbook Elsewhere & Wise. She lives and writes in Tucson, where she sometimes teaches at the University of Arizona, the Poetry Center, Pima Community College, and Casa Libre en la Solana.