Wild mustard flowered on the cracked banks, and I picked a bouquet for Yvonne. What was a weed, anyway. A plant nobody planted? A seed escaped from a traveler’s coat, something that didn’t belong? Was it something that grew better that what should have been there? Wasn’t it just a word, weed, trailing its judgments. Useless, without value. Unwanted.  

Well, anyone could buy a green Jaguar, find beauty in a Japanese screen two thousand years old. I would rather be a connoisseur of neglected rivers and flowering mustard and the flush of iridescent pink on an intersection pigeon’s charcoal neck. I thought of the vet, warming dinner over a can, and the old woman feeding her pigeons in the intersection behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken, And what about the ladybug man, the blue of his eyes over the gray threaded black? There were me and Yvonne, Niki and Paul Trout, maybe even Sergei and Susan D. Valeris, why not? What were any of us but a handful of weed. Who was to say what our value was? What was the value of four Vietnam vets playing poker every afternoon in the front Spanish market on Glendale Boulevard, making their moves with a greasy deck missing a queen and a five? Maybe the world depended on them, maybe they were the Fates, or the Graces. Cézanne would have drawn them in charcoal. Van Gogh would have painted himself among them.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander

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