by H.E. Fisher
When the boy was little, • Chicory • there was no sewage treatment plant in town. • Green Adder's Mouth • Raw sewage went into the creek. • Woodland Lettuce • The creek curves around the town • Creeping Myrtle • like a horseshoe • Tall Hairy Agrimony • and was a tributary of a great river. • Puttyroot Orchid • The river was polluted • Western Pearly Everlasting • with nitrates • Twoleaf Anemone • from farm runoff and waste water • Galax • from industries like steel production. • Thimbleweed • Nitrates are found in fertilizers and explosives. • Liverleaf • Mercury and PFOA, • Blue Toadflax • a chemical used in making Teflon, • Pale Meadow Beauty • also polluted the river. • Broadleaf Arrowhead • Like all the children in town, • Thimbleflower • the boy swam in the creek. • Doll's Eyes • His father fished in the creek. • Golden Glow • The creek was the source • Trout Lily • of the townspeople’s water • Clasping Bellwort • for drinking, • Baneberry • washing laundry, • Blueweed • and for bathing. • Spike Gayfeather • Many of the living beings • Wild Comfrey • near the creek and river • Summer Lilac • got sick. • Appalachian Barren Strawberry • Still, wildflowers grew along the bank. • Widow’s Frill • The boy could name them. • Hot-rock Beardtongue • Sometimes he would pick some to bring home for his mother. • Small Bonny Bellflower • She would put the wildflowers in a clear glass vase • Cancer Drops • and fill the vase with tap water • Coalwort • which traveled in a system of pipes • Sorrel • from the creek • Wild Yam • to her kitchen sink. • American Bluehearts
H.E. Fisher‘s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in Miracle Monocle, SWWIM, Canary, Feral, and Dream Pop Journal, among other publications. H.E. is pursuing her MFA at City College of New York, where she was awarded The Stark Poetry Prize in Memory of Raymond Patterson. H.E. lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley.