They strike when least expected, by the gentlest
brush of hand near the heart-shaped green of leaf,
causing you to flinch violently, disbelief;
then, in the stare back, the contrition-less
vegetation unfazed, the stinging commences.
Pain is quick, in the panic for relief,
to metamorphose into a belief
of self-infliction: the nettle's defences
aren't to blame, the stupidity is yours;
one scurries about, trying this then that
emollient, totally under siege;
and later, to forget, to lay small store
by the event: that in one's sphere of contact
a brush of hand is heart-shaped, nettles sting.