underworld - annie-spratt-l9fy5m3YTPw-unsplash.jpg

Underworld

Poet:  B. J. Buckley

You find it when doing something as ordinary

as stacking wood in earliest spring after it's lain

all winter on the ground, the wet soaking into bark

from beneath – long rainy autumn, the saturated

ooze of muddy earth – and from above, the heavy snows,

hoar frost, wild thaws and freezes – so that when you turn logs

belly up to dry, there's shelf fungus – tiny thumbnails –

and jelly spore brainwrinkled and orange and citrus

sharp as marmalade, little toadstools with thumbtack caps,

blue pine stain transported by bark beetles, slow seep

up the grain – and holding the cut lengths to the ground, the way

those Lilliputians anchored Gulliver – mycelia,

small rooms, walls of fuzzed white string, and inside, absence: lost

Eurydice, her ghost's ghost, sowbug alseep in her hair.

B. J. Buckley is a Montana poet and writer who has taught in Arts-in-Schools and Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades. Her chapbook, In January, the Geese, won the Comstock Poetry Review's 35th Anniversary Chapbook Prize. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Grub Street,  Dogwood, Vita Poetica, Calyx, and Aesthetica, among others.  More information and sample poems are on her website:

wild4verses.wixsite.com/b-j-buckley