Coltsfoot – Tussilago farfara L. by Kayla Geitzler

city florets ditch-daughters
cement-sprouters loiterers leaning
against chainlink in empty lots
graffitists of highway overpasses
hardy and fast-rooting along railway
ties your wind-stirred stems weaving
like legs balancing on train tracks
you first flowerets welcoming spring

you sassy misses born before your mothers
steeped and sipped by asthmatic
grannies at knife-nicked formica tables
or dried and rolled and zippo-lit inhaled
lung-loosening phoenix-flower
your felted leaves brown-sugared burnt
your sparkling ashes a substitute for salt

second-cousins to the sun your golden
petals stiff as stuck out tongues—brazen
blossoming in unwanted places ignored
you litter urbanities like those impulsive girls in black
eyeliner cutoffs and kicks rushing away from mischief
ever-brightening and defiant you flourish
blooming headlong headlong headlong

“Coltsfoot” was written by Kayla Geitzler for Spellbound by Nature: A Spell-kit of Nova Scotia’s Nature Words.
These spells are for youth and children to get outside and explore nature, to discover and name plants, insects, animals, in our backyards and communities. This ‘Spell-kit’ has been concocted by writers and artists, to conjure common nature words in order to help with their identification. Spellbound by Nature was developed and funded by Arts Health Antigonish (AHA!), with funding contributions from the NS Dept. of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Sustainable Antigonish.

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KAYLA GEITZLER, MA, is from Moncton, within Siknikt of the Mi’kma’ki. “A Rad Woman of Canadian Poetry” & Attic Owl Reading Series host, she was Moncton’s first Anglophone Poet Laureate. Her first poetry collection was a finalist for two awards. Kayla is co-editor of the multilingual anthology Cadence Voix Feminines Female Voices. She was a technical editor on pipeline projects & designed ATC courseware. As an editor, writing consultant & instructor, Kayla's affordable expertise helps writers & organizations achieve success.