Low moon tonight & nearly full.
See how it illuminates the alien bodies of mushrooms
colonizing the weedy lawn. They're a surprise after six weeks
of near drought, delivered, no doubt,
by the drizzle that followed --
their fibrous necks lifting up their heads so they seem to look
in wonder. There was that time
I went morel hunting with a woman I thought I loved;
we carried two plastic grocery bags
& a blanket & lunch.
We spent our morning searching
around the bases of birch & pine,
& by the area, also, where fire had created a richness of soil.
I had thought maybe we'd find some mushrooms, eat lunch,
& then make love on that blanket,
the smell of moist nature -- of decay & growth --
& thus that ground would be consecrated.
But we were confounded
to find, at first, the bones of what we believed to be
a large animal, some ribs & vertebrae,
&, excited by our discovery, we dug around till we found
the long femur of what was most likely a young child,
a handful of metatarcels.
How she drew in her breath
-- a slight, high-pitched whistle.
The flesh, of course, was gone -- who knows how long
the body had rotted in the rotten earth.
The police arrived inevitably; inevitably,
we had to retrace our steps back to that place
a mile from a state highway
where she had laid the blanket
above the remains & held it firm with rocks
as if such a gesture could make a difference.
All that first night she wept & shivered, &
there was no comforting her,
for who could sleep
with milky light filling our bare windows in that way.