Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Tangle of Lichen

On the forest floor a tangle
of fluorescent green lichen sprawls.
If I stepped on it I’d fall
a mile or two through dimensions

I’d never suspected were there.
Fresh as my daily shave the light
tingles with mayflies. The croaking
of blue jays wrinkles birch leaves

and ruffles my hair. If I fell
through the lichen I’d discover
why science loves interiors
of slow and complex evolution.

The glow of minerals plotting
revenge would reveal a depth
spelunkers have never attained.
Crystals larger than houses

would smile in post-Euclidean
glory, every facet polished
to enhance their stolid appeal.
The lichen has thought long and hard

about growing in this spot
in the center of a woods road.
It has rooted in a shade of green
that looks so unnatural it opens

not only the fourth but the fifth
dimension, the one Freud suspected
of undermining his life’s work.
No wonder I’d fall so far

and so hard, landing in plush
but fatal magma and bursting
into ash. Maybe I’d trigger
a volcanic moment the planet      

would remember long after
my human associates forget.
Maybe the lichen would inhale
my spirit as it tried to surface.

Then I’d learn what green really means
although too late to apply
that knowledge to my present tense,
the only one that matters.