by Caroline Knox
To write a tarragon ode, you might address the effects
this fine herb has on the expansive senses.
See bright dark leaves, matte surfaces on
blowing stems and shoots. A green incense rises
from crushed foliage. For many ailments,
tarragon tea. For salad, infuse a vinegar with it:
a shade of anise, licorice. To hear it,
put your ear close to the plants, let the
wind come and brush the shoots together.
To hear it, think of the perfect rhyme in Aragon,
in France, where the best cultivars flourish.
Oh, wildly versatile multitasker,
you have such an unassuming flower.
Tarragon, tarragon, Artemisia dracunculum,
what are you doing over there among the
Compositae, the daisies? Sweet and piquant,
scratchily tactile, filling people’s mouths,
filling them with binomial nomenclature.
Caroline Knox is the author of several books of poetry. Most recently, her ninth book, To Drink Boiled Snow, appeared from Wave Books in 2015. She has recent work in A Public Space, The Baffler, The Common, Narrative, and Tin House.