Choked by Jane Poirier Hart

for CBF

This morning, a brown oak leaf caught
in the chalice of a coral hibiscus. Intruder,
bringer of bad news: summer’s demise.
Invasive English ivy has insinuated itself
inside the screened porch, found chance:
the chink between panel & clapboards.
All season, inched, inched and wound
stem & leaf into one bare, back corner.
I haven’t the heart to cut it, tear it out.
Invasive because it chokes out other plants,
creates what’s called an “ivy desert,” but
something about the vine, its curve & curl
claiming air reminds me of seahorses, genus
Hippocampus. Hippocampus from
the Ancient Greek hippos meaning “horse”
and kampos meaning “sea monster.”
Hippocampus: twin curved horns in
the temporal lobe—pliable & vulnerable—
important to the limbic system, involved
in emotions, the cementing of memories.

by Jane Poirier Hart


Editor’s Note: This poem begins with a startling image that immediately draws the reader into a narrative of vine growth and its uncomfortable allegorical message (echoed in the title).