California Wood Fern

Dryopteris arguta

CstlWdfrn_P32_4.3.20.JPG

Photo Credit: Amanda Sparkman

Paul Willis

California Wood Fern

(Dryopteris arguta)                                                              

They think I’m friendly,

the way I wave at everyone.

 

But it’s just a matter of loose

fronds, a feeling of being

 

unhinged, a constant fiddling

with the rachis of my neck.

 

A little substance would be nice—

some backbone, some wooden fiber.

 

Then I would say Howd’y’do

as many times as you please—

 

not with these flimsy, flailing arms,

but with a slight nod of the head,

 

a dip of the crown, lichen

swaying from my beard.