Marilee Goad: Beg for Attention

Question from the Weed Flower


Am I the urn into which you’ve deposited my ancestors’

splintered ashes? Soot stains my brow with their blessings

and curses: historical castoffs you think we can forget,

but the land remembers, its earth humming with the roots

of seeds sown long ago, scattered on fallow and fertile lands

alike, they crept up through the cracks in our floor, flowers

you call weeds the neighbors call treasures — I can’t tell if

the difference is semantic or significant anymore, but their

thorns needle my spine in indignation, beg for attention

I wish I didn’t have to heed: weak voices that weep hymns

and prayers, the fertilizer for our current condition — only

I can’t tell yet if I’m a flower or a weed, and sometimes

I think maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I can bear fruit

that might help heal the suffering of a people shuddering

the grief from which they cannot escape, centuries of our

sins written in our DNA like soil with worms that can’t

eat up the rotten bits fast enough: could I if just try?

Marilee Goad attended the University of Chicago and has work published or forthcoming in Ghost City Review, OUT/CAST, and Georgetown University School of Medicine’s Scope arts magazine for medical students.