in the poppy bed

there’s a stubborn weed

i never can seem to kill;

its slender green stem

blends in with the rest

of the flowers,

so i don’t know it’s there

until pain pricks my fingers

and i belatedly see

the thousand tiny dark thorns

all along its branches.

every spring i cut it off again

but i can’t reach the roots below the ground

so again it grows, slim and supple,

just thick enough to twist into a crown.