© Matthew Word Bain

next spring there will be a short window of time
during which the resurgence of this plant from its roots
will make for good eats, a green spring salad
and then, within a couple weeks,
those same leaves will become poisonous
just like the seeds of the purple berries it will bear
later in the summer, berries that make great jelly – so long
as you strain out the seeds… a good medicine for hard illness
but not to be taken lightly – just a little bit to poke the immune system
and get it charged up to fight off a severe flu or the like
not many people know how to use it anymore
know it well enough to have a relationship with it
know it well enough to use it as medicine without injury
what has happened to us? knowledge not only of this plant
but of how to live in relationship with plants and their medicine
used to be common knowledge – a knowledge commons –
a weft thread that bound our individual threads
together In community as a social fabric
what remains in its absence?