Lynne Goldsmith’s first book, ‘Secondary Cicatrices’, won the 2018 Halcyon Poetry Prize and was a 2019 Finalist in the American Book Fest Awards and a 2020 Human Relations Indie Book Award Gold Winner. Her poetry has been published in Backchannels Journal, Spillway, Thimble Literary Magazine, Environmental Magazine, Red Planet Magazine, among others, with upcoming poems in Tiny Seed Literary Journal and Scotland’s 2020 Geopoetry Conference program.

Fairy Ring Fungi

Mycelium underneath
mushroom fruit bodies budding from earth.

You are free or tethered (unconnected
or joined with trees). Roots offer nutrients.

You can feed off dead or dying matter,
grow ever outward either way.

At times you kill the grass
or darken greensward from nitrogen release.

Some say they saw the fairies dance,
the circle of so-called destruction

under a full moon of superstition
before their casting of marjoram and thyme,

a little touch of iron. Whether good luck or bad,
the arc you share above ground expands.


Mother Tree

You are the nurturing hub
connected to hundreds

more trees you send out carbon to,
warnings along with wisdom

to give rise to seedling kin and old neighbors
as your colony draws water and nutrients

from mycorrhizal network
of fungi underground growing threads

to your roots that rocketed you
above the rest,

that gave you height and age,
the moniker of Mother Tree

basking in your tower built toward sun,
filling up with sugars that you need.

You replenish forest in your ancientness,
your laying down important groundwork

for conducting woodland choruses to come
that will take their seats to hum.


The Intelligence of Trees

Trees know what to do
with winter’s casting off
leaves from the hormone trigger
(one before several)
to form abscission cells
to push the leaves away from stems,
(leaves’ colors changed for protection
from insects and the sun) all
for sending nutrients back
to welcoming bark
through branches down to the trunk
and system of roots. No photosynthesis,
no chlorophyll or respiration in the cold,
no water to climb through
the trees in winter months
(except for some storing H2O)
when the sun waves its good-byes.
Trees weather scarce times.
They know to wait,
to activate their memory clocks,
minding temperatures and proteins
within themselves, interactions
and old patterns of breaking dormancy
to revive buddings in waiting.
In time each tree will meet again
its bright expected visitor, Spring.


Hemimastigote (AKA Hairy, Rapacious Ogre)

Flagella-waving look-alike raisin—
yet no cartoon animation
as you stand supra-kingdom
beyond complex categories
of known forms of life—

plant and animal,
fungus, protozoan and now one more addition
in the eukaryotic life—

you went renegade as microbe
over a billion years ago, unnoticed
branch in the tree of life.

Your existence is now confirmed.

Yes, we humans can be slow to catch on,
blind to what’s beneath our feet
or before our vision.

So now I wonder,
have to admit—how much more
can be uncovered

right between my very toes?


Subterranean Biosphere

Fifteen to twenty-three billion tons—
static microorganisms
yet some extant thousands of years
in ecosystem twice the size
of all the world’s oceans.

to produce methane,
to replace or repair
broken parts of itself.

And geogemma barossii,
once classified as bacteria
and occupying vents
at hydrothermal spot
on ocean floor to reproduce
at 121° centigrade.

Five thousand meters below ground,
life forms apart from the sun to survive,
to thrive on pressure and little nutrients.

Humans find answers during exploration
of core covered over to inverted life
mushrooming down,
spreading earth cloud.

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