This week’s poem, Meg Stout’s “Foxfire,” finds the speaker encountering something wondrous: mushrooms that glow. I love this poem’s care with the fungi’s imagery and scientific names, how it sent me down an internet rabbit-hole of luminous mushroom images, and that it introduced me to a witchy word I never knew: eldritch, which means strange or ghostly. I especially love how this poem’s awed descriptions hold a quiet grief that also glows.

A resident of Durham, Stout recently earned an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in journals such as Mid-American Review, Barrow Street, Salt Hill and Baltimore Review.

 

Foxfire

By Meg Stout

 

Two weeks before

(what would have been)

your birthday

I’m researching bio-

 

luminescence:

page after page of fungi

gleaming green. Panellus pusillus,

Panellus stipticus (—string

 

of lights). A friend

mentions honey

mushrooms snapped

at the stalk. They look

like constellations,

he says. Armillaria

 

gallica. I walk

the woods at sunset

while light settles

among the leaves. Omphalotus

ringing orange around

a tree—(a blooming

 

gilled unease—)

saprobic habitation

of what’s gone old.

This eldritch light:

I cannot see (you) in it.

 

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Foxfire,” copyright © 2021 by Meg Stout, appears by permission of the author.


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