May/June 2017 • Vol. XXXIX No. 3 Nature's NatureMay 1, 2017 |

The Dijon Sky

The Dijon sky, a little hot on the tongue(this dog has panted out to see its evening), used to feel its reflection in a field of mustard when people— the inedible, the unhunted—an invasive species, lived on the edge of country, which grew into buildings, blocky, accommodating city-limit neighborliness,now obits, sad newsy columns of ourpoor prosperouscensus. Mustard had assisted,extendeddistances, popped up under orchards, followed wiry arm-lengths of varietals. And there among it roseshepherds purse, and pedestal rosettes; foxtail barley in low-watertable ditches,light-shredding grazing danger. Watch out for thistles mustard dates; wild radish crowds, white and pink; spreads of bee-brassy Brassica beds. For development, though,a building permitstaped to your door— and you'll need more.Eventually across the street they build a hospital, first patients on wan sheets, meaning to heal, miss their mustard fields. Their peppery purpose.

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Sandra McPherson is the author of twenty books and is retired from teaching at the University of California at Davis. Her twenty-first book, Quicksilver, Cougars, and Quartz, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry Press. Recent poems appeared in TriQuarterly, Poetry, Plume, Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, and Ploughshares. She founded Swan Scythe Press.

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