Today's poem is by Hildred Crill

The Book of Lichens

If there's a surface,
you said, there will be living things.

Out of need, I thought,
a fungus and alga marry. I skimmed

the glossy, illustrated guide: black discs
on gray seas, egg rosettes, pale green splotches,

worms written in squirming, fan-wide ridges, warts,
brain wrinkles, short black stalks

with erupting cups, cropped mats, purple-tinged
branches. I don't remember much

of what hangs on the mind
like memory of disease, but a pattern:

stick close to the surface

move where you can.

Copyright © 2005 Hildred Crill All rights reserved
from Poet Lore
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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