Twirling like a Mexican Hat Dance,
hat-shaped, big as a sombrero,
a ring of vegetable foam,
decayed and fermented from years
of leaf-fall, whirls in a pool
below a tiny waterfall.
I’d like to shovel it up
in a coherent mass and ship it
to a museum of entropy
where tourists could admire it
and scientists could measure it
to confirm their favorite theories.
But it would collapse like angel
food cake, leaving a yellow scum.
The brook has been heady with rain.
The many little waterfalls
have yellowed with debris skimmed
from the forest floor. This foam hat
formed when no one was looking,
when leaf-matter clumped and clung
to a notion of symmetry
that survives its DNA.
Insects skim the busy current.
Striders brave the whirlpool and cling
to the rotating structure, their flat
paddle-feet pawing for a grip.
They’ll probe the foam for creatures
small enough to eat. A fish
hardly larger than the striders
noses from under the hat, flashes
its rubbery tail and disappears
downstream in a hurry. I skid
across the slippery rocks back
to land. Safely on the trail,
I note how firm the foam-hat looks
from a distance, how reverently
the circling water dandles it
as if a coronation
were about to claim this space.