PALO VERDE,
  PRAIRIE BROOMWEED


 

         Yoshikane Araki was the name Margaret Morri gave to her pet mouse, a creature of shocked white fur and thin cloak of gray, and she made his home in a discarded hatbox, furnishing it with alluvial soil, the crowns of palo verde, the slinky blooms of prickle poppy, and she fed him, groomed him, and exchanged daily troubles with him until the age of nine, when she introduced Yoshikane Araki to her boyfriend Jack Maeda, who exclaimed that her ugly mouse was just some string and burlap and buttons, nothing better than an old, busted doll.
         Following that incident, Yoshikane Araki remained sealed up in Margaret's hatbox for over sixty years, and was transported from Gila to Chicago to Detroit and finally to California, when one evening Margaret's granddaughter, Sue Maeda knocked the hatbox from a shelf and Yoshikane Araki tumbled out.
         – Who is that? Sue asked Margaret.
         – Why, that is Yoshikane Araki of course. He is my pet mouse.
         – What does he like to eat?
            And though it had been sixty years since Margaret had fed Kane, she knew instantly, absolutely his favorite things to eat were the seeds of mesquite, creosote bush and prairie broomweed, precisely the plants that were growing wild in her yard.