Volume 31, Number 1

Euphorbia esula

From the semi cab Mylo saw the yellow blooms
Skirting the dirt road from his driveway
And down the county road toward Pisek,
North Dakota, then the highway to Grand Forks,
And from there anywhere in the known world.

His rig took him last three days of each week,
Then he headed back for four days of farming,
When he saw the yellow flowers had gone
From cute to an epidemic that was turning his best
Forty wheat acres into a garden of leafy spurge,

Or Euphorbia esula, according to the county,
Which urged him to apply more chemicals to kill it,
Leaf, root and flower, and he did just that,
But the sponge spread faster than a guy could spray,
And Mylo was fuming and about ready to give in.

Next Thursday, waiting his load and bitching
About the floral display in his hard red spring wheat,
A driver from Somalia, just got his trucking
Permit, came up and said goats would clean up
Nature's mess and turn it into cash without poison.

By late summer and into fall Mylo counted
Cash for twenty-one goats on spits plus mileage
To haul to marriages, birthdays, Muslim
Holidays he still didn't know much about,
But he reckoned he should learn.

—Mark Trechock