cladonia rangifera Nineteen Years Beyond Chernobyl
A dual organism:
low-slung show of “mutual.”
Reindeer Moss, a misnomer –
a lichen: tangled hollow stalks branching
and rebranching. Stock slaughtered
for countries, for continents.
A young girl picking potatoes
brings her parents water.
Wind hurling branch, child, sound to the house,
then yellow earth after deep rain.
Sympathetic, the systems –
the ferns, heather, berries,
the forests – turn the sky inward:
spread the cloud in the fox’s stomach;
Fed half-life again.
Wild mushrooms put to mouth:
a black broth and small busy hands.
Children put to rest after simple meals.
The chart on the school house wall:
rain to lake to fish to man.
Flake into the mouth, onto the tongue –
a rain to a gathering storm.
Fish, bellies round like the oversky,
feed the thick layers:
feed what has fallen out of the above
under the silver,
There is a field of lichen
the wind cannot shift, and
the reindeer are vomiting.