Fusarium Oxysporum

Fusarium Oxysporum

fungal pathogen producing wilt, chlorosis, necrosis,
leaf drop, browning, stunting, and damping-off

Our fence-line rookery of Mimosas
is gone. One
leans against the house,

propped by an overgrown Holly.
Another fell
in on itself, but still

stands by the sandbox, its
two largest
limbs rubbing out a woeful

wind-blown bark like a
lonely seal
pining for a mate.

I miss these shady migrant
trees, their
fernlike leaves, ambitious limbs,

hardworking seeds and pods.
And blooms—
what a summer explosion

of Chinese chrysanthemum
white and pink!
No matter they hitchhiked

in with botanist André Michaux
to Charleston
in 1785, then spread

to every backyard nook
and roadside
cranny of the South.

Don’t malign this copious
tree with noms
de plume
like invasive species,

noxious weed, or alien
exotic plant
because the Cardinal

rule of being Southern
is you
got folks who, or you

yourself, live—
or once