FUNGI, LICHENS & SLIME MOLDS
The wettest weather on campus brings the mushrooms out in leaf litter and on lawns, and the lichens glow bright and green on the oak trees after a winter rain. We'd love to add to our list of these often elusive species--so please keep keep looking down, and let us know what you see!
Hairy Curtain Crust
Western Hardwood Sulphur Shelf
Mustard Yellow Polypore
Bird's Nest Fungus
Common Greenshield Lichen
Dog Vomit Slime
The high-strung net behind home plate
is softened by some wisps of lichen.
Year by year the tufts grow deeper,
filamenting, elfin beards that strand
our view. Eventually, all we’ll see
is the double play of algae and fungi,
a gray-green wall that separates
us from the field but joins us
to the long surprises of this world.
At first I thought you a piece of orange
construction fence, trapped in the ground.
But you were too shapely for that,
appearing and then disappearing into the litter
of oak leaves. Then there was the smell,
the stench of slime within your bulbous cage—
that spore-bearing slime, your gleba—
wafting the scent of rotting meat,
poison to the human tongue but nectar
to the flies who come to celebrate and spread
your seed. In America, you are described
as a whiffleball, as an alien from outer space.
In Yugoslavia, witch's heart.
There, your ovules, before they burst,
are pickled and eaten: devil's eggs.
Do I wish to dine in Yugoslavia? I do not.
But you have arrived on your own terms,
and I welcome you, bubbling
your infested baskets under the trees.