Hilary Otto: “Underworld”




We press against the oozing dirt, thrive
on the tang of damp matter. By the time
you become aware of us easing up
from the earth like time-lapse capsules
disturbed, we will have popped out, soiled
as if surprised during private acts, to buff
our bald caps and moisten our pale skin.

Beneath, where you cannot see us work
our spores transform into moons of milk.
Our mycelium threads extend, bind together
and we emerge, fringed with gills to perpetuate
our presence inside those crevices we find
fertile. We look too ordinary to pose a threat.
We are experts at waiting in silence.



About the Author: Hilary Otto is an English poet, teacher and translator based in Barcelona. She reads regularly in Barcelona in both English and Spanish, most recently as part of the Berlin International Poetry Festival. Her work has been published in Popshot Quarterly, Black Bough Poetry and Fixpoetry, as well as in anthologies.


Image Credit: Nouvel atlas de poche des champignons comestibles et vénéneux. v.1.
Paris,Léon Lhome,1911-1912. http://biodiversitylibrary.org/item/24293

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