Birth and Death in the Manure Pile

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Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam
Acquire the air. 

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room…

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth. 
Our foot’s in the door.
~Sylvia Plath from “Mushroom”

This overnight overture,
a parturition of “ink caps” after a rain.
As if seed had been sprinkled on the manure pile,
they sprout three inch stalks
still stretching at dawn,
topped by dew-catching caps and umbrellas.
Nearly translucent as glass,
already curling at the edges in the morning light,
by noon melting into black ooze
by evening complete deliquescence,
withered and curling back
into the humus
which birthed them hours before.

It shall be repeated
again and again,
this birth from muck,
a brief and shining life,
and dying back to dung.

It is the way of things
to never give up
once a foot’s in the door.

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2 thoughts on “Birth and Death in the Manure Pile

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