Papulæ (Order I.)

Genus II. Lichen.

On a scale of Lustrous to Sockeye,
Fishscale to Fire-Dot. Not Ichthyosis:
Lichen. Fruiting bodies in a calcareous
spot. Goldspeck. Blushing.

O the diffuse eruption of dazzling papulæ!

Usher the Wild Lichen. Usher spring
and the furfuraceous scurf recurs.
The Brain-Scaled (the hairline cracked).
The Blue-Blistered, the Earth-Wrinkled.

Neither Strophulus nor stoppable.
Like wildfire rash the crustose rush
of successive crops. Tundra Sulphur,
circumpolar, the snowy excoriations.

So squats the Dog Lichen, the Freckle Pelt.
Cobblestoned, chronic, the not contagious.

This poem is from The Hideous Hidden, by Sylvia Legris, copyright © 2016 by Sylvia Legris. Printed by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Source: Poetry (September 2016)
More Poems by Sylvia Legris