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Micromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is sometimes placed within the genus Satureja. The name is derived from the Greek words μῑκρος (mīkros), meaning "small," and μερίς (meris), meaning "portion," referring to the leaves and flowers.

Micromeria just means mint. Not even tiny mint. Lots of mint. Lots of kinds of mint. Mint. If you plant it anywhere, it grows like bamboo. My old boyfriend Andy’s dad right before he moved from one house in Tigard, Oregon, to another house in Tigard, Oregon, planted bamboo along the fence. The instructions for planting bamboo read, line a deep hole with black plastic, otherwise the bamboo will grow unbounded, taking out fences, roses, tulips, small fruit-bearing trees, and uprooting foundations. Andy’s dad, Roger, did not like his neighbor. He’d built the fence without asking. The fence blocked not only the sun but the sunset. He planted the bamboo without a bit of plastic.

Three miles away, safely in his new yard, he planted lavender. He planted lemon verbena, forgetting it was a member of the ever-large mint family. Now the bees cover his yard, rolling in the flowers, getting their backs all sticky with syrup. The smell permeates the walls of the house, even the small room in the back of the house, where, now aged by Parkinson’s, Andy’s dad likes to bind his shaky form. The house murmurs with the hunger of bees.

nicole walker is the author of the nonfiction book, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, which won the 2011 Zone 3 nonfiction prize and will be published next year, and a collection of poems, This Noisy Egg (Barrow Street, 2010). She edited, along with Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Nonfiction, which will be released by Continuum Press in 2013. She teaches for Northern Arizona University’s MFA program.

photo credit: Sandra Neumann