Leaving Primordia – by Ed McCourt

I see at first a mushroom, complete,
Berry ripe on the bush, fruiting body:
Chanterelle, false gilled, lip curved like a tulip,
Born from the mycelium below, sinewed circle,
The mushroom, a body, swollen from earth, a poem,
Through substrate up, up into the turbulence of air.
The years poured in like milk, the quiet winters below,
warm as the crook of a mother’s arm.
They say the trees can see the mycelium,
hold its threaded hands, pass notes to seedling kin,
and the mushroom just an apple dropped:
go forth, be known, be understood,
spread spores as far as they will fly.
But still I see fine threads of fingers fold,
And from the forest floor, wave, and watch,
And wait for her to once again emerge.

Ed McCourt is an Associate Prof. of English at Jacksonville University where he teaches writing. His work has appeared in the Barely South Review, Little Patuxent Review, Red Booth Review, Portland Review, and others. He spends his time with his family, or in the forest, or occasionally with his family in the forest, and has added foraging for mushrooms to his woodsman activities.