- Twice Alive (excerpt)
mycobiont just beginning to enwrapphotobiont each to becomesomething else its own life and acontested mutuality twice alivealgal cells swaddled in clusters
you take a 3-lens jeweler's loupe to inspect the holdfastof the umbilicate lichens then the rock tripe lichensthen the Amitaba Buddha mushroom, cambric in color,swarming with a kind of mite that has no anusthen the delicious chanterelles called Trumpets of Death
I crush oak moss between finger and thumbfor its sweet perfume persistent onyour skin when I touch your throat so slowto evaporate the memory of seeingsunburst lichen on the sandstone cliff
but if herbivores eat wolf lichen theydie and if carnivores eat it they diewrithing in pain with the exception of miceit is rarely possible to tellif lichen is dead or alive [End Page 32]
Forrest Gander is the author of Be With (2018); Eiko & Koma (2013); Core Samples from the World (2011), a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize; Eye; and Against Eye (2005). His honors include a Whiting Award, two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative North American Writing, and fellowships from the NEA and Yaddo. He was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2017.