Published on Academy of American Poets (

What If the Invader Is Beautiful

In the tallgrass
where all gold starts

wind became
my additional lover.

His hand the inflorescence
one finger partially gone—



I carefully researched
how to bait my trap.

Took the small blonde charmer
out of town.

Stealer of cholla,
eater of sun murdered plants.

I knew it would die coming back.


Ajo lilies
now up to my waist.

What blackened
the opal knowledge—

What his ghost finger traced.


Copyright © 2017 by Louise Mathias. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 18, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Across two vast, golden landscapes, that of the Kansas Tallgrass Prairie, and that of the Mojave Desert (where any form of human presence feels like an invasion itself) the poem’s title is a reference to the invasive tamarisk tree, which drips with dense masses of pink flowers, even as it threatens the delicate ecology of the area with its terrible alien thirst.”
—Louise Mathias


Louise Mathias

Louise Mathias is the author of The Traps (Four Way Books, 2013).

Date Published: 2017-07-18

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