We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR

Find using OpenURL

Rent from DeepDyve Rent from DeepDyve

Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage

From: The Missouri Review
Volume 36, Number 3, 2013
pp. 73-74 | 10.1353/mis.2013.0076

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Maybe it’s like those hard
red rubbery spathes
that in early spring—
make that late winter—
create their own heat
and halo themselves
with soil wet
from the snow they melt,
a few degrees of advantage
the plant makes for itself,
like its putrid odor: something
that almost survived the winter
but didn’t, convincing
enough to court the thawed-
out insects, those first
mindless urges of life.
Dumb from winter’s boredom,
my brother and I
trudged the frost-crusted creek mud
in the woods behind our house
to where the stems
unfolded a too-bright green
we hated because it was ugly,
reminded us of nothing
but itself and thus
reminded us of ourselves.
A presence we wanted gone.
So we slashed it down
with hockey sticks—
each gash releasing the oils
that made those rancid leaves
more rancid. Each year,
the same ritual, the same
erasure of something
that we didn’t know
we couldn’t erase.
The plant, I found out
years later, grows downward:
the roots pull the stem
deeper into the soil, too deep,
a gardener told me,
to kill it even if you wanted to.

James Davis May  

James Davis May’s poems have appeared in Five Points, Green Mountains Review, New England Review, the New Republic, Pleiades, Tampa Review and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from Inprint and the Krakow Poetry Seminar. In 2013 he won the Collins Award from Birmingham Poetry Review. The former editor of New South, he lives in Young Harris, Georgia.

Copyright © 2013 The Curators of the University of Missouri
Project MUSE® - View Citation
James Davis May. "A Lasting Sickness, and: Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage, and: Someone Takes a Pine Tree Apart, and: Critique and Rebuttal, and: Smerdyakov with a Guitar." The Missouri Review 36.3 (2013): 71-79. Project MUSE. Web. 22 Jul. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
May, J. D.(2013). A Lasting Sickness, and: Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage, and: Someone Takes a Pine Tree Apart, and: Critique and Rebuttal, and: Smerdyakov with a Guitar. The Missouri Review 36(3), 71-79. University of Missouri. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
James Davis May. "A Lasting Sickness, and: Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage, and: Someone Takes a Pine Tree Apart, and: Critique and Rebuttal, and: Smerdyakov with a Guitar." The Missouri Review 36, no. 3 (2013): 71-79. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 22, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - A Lasting Sickness, and: Portrait of the Self as Skunk Cabbage, and: Someone Takes a Pine Tree Apart, and: Critique and Rebuttal, and: Smerdyakov with a Guitar
A1 - May, James Davis
JF - The Missouri Review
VL - 36
IS - 3
SP - 71
EP - 79
PY - 2013
PB - University of Missouri
SN - 1548-9930
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/missouri_review/v036/36.3.davis-may.html
N1 - Volume 36, Number 3, 2013
ER -

...



You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.

Shibboleth

Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.


Research Areas

Recommend

  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access