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dryad saddle 

Robin Gow

we go into the woods to find 

where they are hiding their tongues. 

crouching in a walnut's tooth gaps. 

the whistling ghosts. we put our ears 

to the dirt to hear the mushrooms 

sharing love poems. when people hear 

that mushrooms talk they always assume 

they're conspiring. i think that's because 

when humans talks quietly it is often 

to destroy one another. no, the mushrooms 

they are giving each other new names 

& sewing holes in ghost deer faces. 

together they invent new religions  

to give the trees who rejoice. the trees are 

always looking for something new to worship. 

gods without teeth or eyes. gods  

in the water. you tell me the mushrooms  

we are conversing with are called "dryad saddles." 

the mushrooms enjoy that & add the name 

to their growing list. i wish i could 

hear a tree fall & think, "soon that will be  

home." i do not have mycelium 

to extend & use to hear your memories.  

i do not have gills or spores to spit 

like little messengers. instead, i have knees 

that flip like coins. heads or tails? 

the mushrooms take pity on us. 

together, they sing one of the oldest songs. 

it sound like breeze & falling rocks. 

then, i hear horses of wood. the birth of 

a new tree. seed unfurling. a faint neck. 

we leave & the mushrooms say, 

"one day, one day" by which they mean 

one day we will be part of them. 

Robin Gow is a trans poet and young adult author from rural Pennsylvania. They are the author of several poetry books, an essay collection, YA and Middle-Grade novels in verse, including A Million Quiet Revolutions and Dear Mothman. Gow's poetry has recently been published in POETRY, Southampton Review, Poet Lore, and Yemassee

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