Winter 2007, Volume 23.2
Nancy Takacs teaches English at the College of Eastern Utah in Price. She has two books of poetry: Preserves by City Art Press; and Pale Blue Wings by Limberlost Press. A third book, Juniper, will be published in 2007. The recipient of a 2005 Ucross residency, The Discovery/Nation award, Utah Individual Utah artist grants, a Grolier award, and other poetry awards, she also teaches workshops in schools for the Utah Arts Council’s Arts-in-Education Program. She received an MFA from the University of Iowa. Formerly from Bayonne, New Jersey, she lives in Wellington, Utah.
Only some lichens live this way.
Some have separate lives.
But alga and lichen together
can disperse in wind,
sometimes find themselves
on tortoise shells in the Galapagos,
beetles in New Guinea,
inside a scarecrow’s raincoat.
Anywhere around here in the desert
lichens lie scattered on stones,
over earth, like sprays
of blue-gray gunshot,
or maroon constellations,
or yellow continents
on what was heaved and jumbled
when the earth was younger
and water broke apart cliffs
that turned these boulders loose
and smoothed pockets of earth
on which lichens with their sweet
metal smell now live on top of their
moss partners, protecting them
from light, while the moss makes
the food underneath
for hundreds of years.
Even though it’s strange
and no one can know much
about organisms this small,
it’s true they need each other,
attach forever, would never let go,
could easily spread a fire.
Pots on the Windowsill
The only one that flowers is the purple trumpet.
The big pot’s center
is filling with skinny cilantro
while from pocket-lips around it,
sturdy baby basil, chives
like small green knives,
parsley curving; and
spreading like a good rumor,
The other pot just has
one spray of rosemary like a cowlick.
They are all at the edge
of my desk facing the tan hills,
the bald eagle pair sailing, dipping,
floating the wind-drifts all the way to the cottonwood
opposite us where they sit quietly and wait
like unopened letters.