New Poem at YesPoetry!

Webpage image of city street with headline: YESPOETRY – MICHELE SHARPE – THE DEAD’S MISTAKES

I was inspired to submit to YesPoetry because it published a fabulous poem by my dear friend Michael Carter.

In my plantophile investigations, I became mildly obsessed with plants from the mint family. Most are what gardeners call “deer resistant,” meaning they don’t appeal to ravaging herds of deer who can mow down your garden in the blink of an eyeball. Doing research for the poem, I discovered that in botany, bisexual flowers are referred to as “perfect.” How nice!

The poem’s title is “The Mint Family,” but the editors chose another line as their graphic headline. Published December 28, 2020.

THE MINT FAMILY

Upright, with bisexual (or perfect) flowers, open

for business to bees. Aromatherapeutic against

memory’s dead hand. Other uses: teas, salads, salves

for stings. A shield for other greens against rapacious deer.

A shared geometry: stems near-perfect squares

in cross-section. Called Lamiaceae now, meaning deadnettle,

meaning not-a-nettle. Or possibly to nettle without sting,

like jolts of memory that don’t make one shrink.

Their long-dead name was Labiatae, as in labial.

Lipped, moist, impressionable. Easily stung,

yet they overrun gardens in bee balms, spearmints,

and sages. Re-member: no family’s perfect.

Some harp on the dead’s mistakes instead

of their memories, but The Mints come close

to perfect, modeling refreshment and courage,

their flowers unafraid of stings, open to all the bees.