One rain and they appear.
Along the trails—Tranquil Bluff,
Croghan, Juniper

a cadence of feeding on the forest floor.

The scatter of moon-colored stuff
erupts from the mire, unfurls
a bric-a-brac of fluke and ruff,
lavender cap, topiary puff.

But no morels!
This field of mortal fruit
battens on decomposing soils,
is only good for witches’ spells—

and fun. Architects of the minúte,
a fleet of tiny galleons sails;
a solitary minaret
warns the faithless of their fate.

All rubbery flesh and radial gills,
so alien to what we know,
they are strange to the kingdom of chlorophyll
as marsupial to mammal.

We call out their colors—gamboge, ecru
give them lofty airs—
Whose woods these are they think they know.
But what they do, and do with a will, is grow.

        from a parallel universe.
                Foragers. Reconnoiterers.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 41 Number 10, on page 29
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