Osage orange

Martin Willitts, Jr.

Maclura pomifera, a tree species native to the southern Mississippi valley

one Osage bow was worth
a horse & blanket in trade

it has convoluted grapefruit-sized fruit
on the female trees

formidable thorns on young shoots
yellow-colored bark

its lush foliage
was sheared effectively into impenetrable hedges

the invention of barbed wire
soon made Osage orange hedges less desirable

A found poem from "Public Treasures": Thomas Jefferson and the Garden Plants of Lewis and Clark.

Martin Willitts, Jr. won the 2014 Broadsided award, the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest and was honored as the June 2015 Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge Editor’s Choice. He has published over 20 chapbooks and 11 full-length collections including How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press, 2016).

What do you think?