MARCH 5, 2018

Restoration Journal: Skunk Cabbage

“some rounds fall clean down split in two,

some though and thready, knotty,

full of frasses and galleries, gnarly,


– Gary Snyder, from “Gnarly”


Skunk Cabbage

“Caution: Boardwalk Slippery

When Wet,” sign says,

stands under a Douglas,

tilted a little to the right stuck into

a deep green hollow soft and fragrant by needles–

ice has crept up on first three boards

a milky white, late February melt–

Skunk Cabbage Bridge where

Wingra creek meanders, springs up,

meets the lake, where the Ho Chunk

used to live along the banks in birchbark huts

placed tough leather hands

down into the bubbles that emerged

up through columns of ancient rocks


the truest medicine, from world below–

another sign on top of wooden bridge

says skunk cabbage

keeps itself warm bursts up

first in spring, foul smelling –

watch the coyote how he trots off

and disappears down in the creek