Hyphal tubes, symbionts, exudates,
glomalin proteins, pre-soil, prevent the leaking out . . .
Fluttered root tips of padded prickly pear, sand
under anxious days, enzymes, gill ghosts,
patched necromasses under her clothesline,
keep spirit close. Beneath feldspar, redbold mica.
Nets of roots, fate-kept not-death fungal sheets,
steady there, abiotic mediators, ones toward all.
Crawling now whirred opened cells,
Pleistocene N-rich molecules where rhizospheres
stayed still. Days of salts, stomata, pores in leaves.
Dirt with furry prizes turned zero clouds where
chores were done, to branch near places
she had moods, mendings. Sewed buttons on.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi, mend her there. Her here.
Mend moods here. Pink & beige mold moods, stay
the feet. Forgetters, spun threaders, where dots
& arcs host sugars. Ampersands of storage compounds,
weaving loves. Carbon allocators, micro-essays
of endomycorrhizal dappled net
of never seen, don’t. Light carriers, don’t forget,
fungal tracers, hold back below.
Tubes & branches, microbe niche of ground,
don’t forget her, earth that held her up—
Copyright © 2022 by Brenda Hillman. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.