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Wild Mint

And then a door opens at the end of a tunnel of leaf-heavy
trees and you’re back on the path
through aspen, the understory
glistening beneath the lenses of yesterday’s rain
and you find false dragonhead, self-heal and giant
hyssop, one after the other.  And they’re all mint
when it comes down to it, as if the world’s decided
on freshness over
decay, everything radiating an uncluttered, clean
fragrance, and for the moment you’ve recovered your old
clarity, eyes keen and blossoming over each
green quill, each arrow
separate yet tangled in the grasses, all the lavender
flowerheads, tangled, knotted, frayed, and
pointing at you.  But
was there a door? You whirl to face the trail curving away from you.
No door. Just a quickening, an
astringency, the place
you slough off the grey of habitual
inattention.  This is where the mint came in, the thinnest knife-
blade peeling back the layers to reveal the thirst
inside each stem, stems like straws
siphoning the alkali goodness of soaked
clay, and everywhere you look, careening from green
to green, the world exhales
mint, entreating you
to taste it.

© Elizabeth Philips 
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Photo Credit:

Clean green. Wild mint, Mentha arvensis, fills the world with freshness. Expect to encounter it in moist, rich soils along the shores of rivers and around wetlands.

Did you know ..

“Mint is good for digestion, so chewing a mint leaf after you eat will do more than just freshen your breath. Mint is also used in ointments to soothe sore muscles [and in teas] for coughs, colds and sore throats.” From The Path to Wild Foods by Saskatoon’s own Sandra Walker.

Author: Elizabeth Philips

Elizabeth Philips is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Torch River. In 2015, she published her first novel, The Afterlife of Birds, winner of the City of Saskatoon Book Award and a finalist for the First Novel Award. She is the newly appointed Acquisition Editor for Thistledown Press and she lives in Saskatoon.