Lichenometry

Poem by Chloe N. Clark


A friend adds me to a Facebook group where people post
pictures of mushrooms, mosses, lichen
Such tender stalks fill my screen between
the statuses of friends I no longer
remember the voices of

There are so many types
of mosses, they flood
the page with colors
I can’t touch

Sometimes this makes me think
of you, the miles between us
that stretch empty between
my hands and your skin
your hands and my skin

You told me once that lichen
exists everywhere, that something
like 6 percent of the world
is covered in it, this symbiotic

relationship that stretches and
stretches. Or maybe someone
else told me that, maybe I just

hear it in your voice because
it seems like something you’d tell
me, one of those small facts

that you give to me
until I dream in them

If I could tell you where
we’d be in five years, ten,
I think I wouldn’t

I think I’d instead share
some photo with you
of some mushroom
growing in a place
it seems unaccustomed to

CHLOE N. CLARK’s poems and fiction appear in Apex, Future Fire, Little Fiction, Uncanny, and more. She is co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph, writes for Nerds of a Feather, and teaches at Iowa State University. Her debut chapbook, The Science of Unvanishing Objects, is out from Finishing Line Press, and she can be found on Twitter at @PintsNCupcakes.