Virtue a Lily, But Pennyroyal Being Practical

Sue D. Burton

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, 1650

Boiled and drank, provokes womens’ courses.Rundled, bitter purple herb.Grows big by the wayside (run-by-the-ground,flee-away). Here in Suffolk trapped in gardens.With vinegar, abates the marks of blows about the eyes.Helps the cold griefs of the joints.Carminative. Diaphoretic. Also called witch weed.Ought not to be taken if pregnant.Squaw mint, stinking balm.Weeks of icy rain, hay moldering in the fields.Oh, to be you, cousin, running wild all the way to London.

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Sue D. Burton

Sue D. Burton is a physician assistant specializing in women’s health care. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blackbird, Green Mountains Review, Mudlark, New Ohio Review, and Shenandoah. She has been awarded Fourth Genre’s 2017 Steinberg Essay Prize, a Vermont Arts Council grant, and nominations for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Her chapbook Little Steel is forthcoming from Fomite Press. (Author photo: Alison Prine)


Kingston, Washington

Winner of the 2017 Two Sylvias Press Poetry Prize

“Let’s just get this part out of the way, Sue Burton’s Box is a brilliant, imperative, masterful collection. I envy this book; I covet and adore it. It is a book of the body and the soul, of the body as a trap for the soul, and the box—from the magician’s box, where the body is sawn in half, to the coffin—as a trap for the (female) body…. It’s all here—story, song, and figuration, insurgence, sorrow, and love. ‘Once a woman sawn in half, always./Though it’s all in the eye—yours—the beholder,’ she writes. I beheld. I urge you, too, to behold.”
—Diane Seuss

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