I let the front yard go, thinking
moss would take it, imagined
a lush, green, spongy mattress,
like in the Adirondacks,
where my brother and I found
wizard beds in sapling rooms –
secret, soft, cool and magic.
The moss spread like a leafy flood,
but I was drawn to unexpected
tiny, red-capped lichen branches
and long-stemmed, silver pixie goblets —
escapees from some distant planet,
or reminders of how fantastic
this one is, or used to seem.
All this slow, cold, pandemic spring,
the multiplying lichen spots
have made me think of dots on maps
that show the nightmare need to guard
my hands and face from them and us.
Even in my lichen bed
I’m half afraid with every breath.
The lichens glow as bright as blood
against a beaded April snow.
Knowing the world cannot regret
the change in our relationship,
I do the only thing I can —
stoop to get a closer look and
hope to feel the unrequited love
that is my deepest human nature’s heart.