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American Life in Poetry Column No. 474

Let’s celebrate the first warm days of spring with a poem for mushroom hunters, this one by Amy Fleury, who lives in Louisiana.

‘First Morel’

Up from wood rot,

wrinkling up from duff

and homely damps,

spore-born and cauled

like a meager seer,

it pushes aside earth

to make a small place

from decay. Bashful,

it brings honeycombed

news from below

of the coming plenty

and everything rising.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Copyright © 2013 by Amy Fleury from her most recent book of poems, Sympathetic Magic, Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. Poem reprinted by permission of Amy Fleury and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2014 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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