Summer, time again to do battle with those quilled-head punk-style kings who march defiantly between wild oat grasses and tall fescue stems. The nectar-laden crowns of sun-ray yellow disguise a more malevolent nature of these warrior chiefs, protected by sharp-toothed lances. I pick and gather the star thistle to stop the invasion to prevent the reseeding and the starting anew. I bend down, clutch the stem near to the ground with gloved, shielded fingers, and pull the brown root; short, dry hairs all up and out, making sure it will not grow again . . . will not claim dominion over native vegetation. I feel good ridding the land of this arrogant weed attacking the legs of farmers and hikers, infesting the native grasslands, meadows and gardens of a more approachable world. Now and then, using gloveless more nimble fingers I pull and tug each one up by its roots, and in this hand-to-thistle combat the dry coarse-ribbed stems occasionally cut through my vulnerable skin. The smear of blood across my farmer’s palm gives me evidence of their imperial maleficence and the royal command "Fight On!"