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Lichen Glows in the Moonlight

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Lichen glows in the moonlight
so fierce only cloud blocking
the moon brings relief. Then passed by,
recharged it leaps up off rocks

and suffocates—there is no route
through rocks without having to confront
its beseeching—it lights the way,
not the moon, and outdoes epithets

like phosphorescent, fluorescent, or florescent:
it smirks and smiles and lifts the corner
of its lips in hideous or blissful collusion,
and birds pipe an eternal dawn, never knowing

when to sleep or wake. They might
be tricked into thinking their time’s up,
in the spectrum of lichen, its extra-gravital
persuasion, its crackling movement

remembered as still, indifferent, barely
living under the sun, or on a dark night;
climbing up you’d escape, but like all great
molecular weights it leaves traces

you carry with you into the realms
           of comfort and faith.

Source: Poetry (May 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Lichen Glows in the Moonlight

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