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(Ribes sanguineum)

Back in 1825, David Douglas
packed your kin on a ship to London,
where sales of their seeds alone
repaid the cost of his expedition.

That was a long trip for them,
through the sandbars at the riptide
mouth of the Columbia, then past
Patagonia, around the Horn.

But here you bloom, beside this trail
on a rocky shelf above the lake,
still missing your ride
to some strange garden across the sea.

—Ross Lake National Recreation Area

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Paul J. Willis

Paul Willis has published seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Somewhere to Follow (Slant, 2021). He has also recently published a YA Elizabethan time-travel novel, All in a Garden Green (Slant, 2020), and the essay collection To Build a Trail (WordFarm, 2018). He is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California. His website is

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