A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

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Autumn Noelle Hall
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA


The attic framework of Notre Dame, an architectural feat known as "the forest," grew from fifteen hundred three-hundred-year-old oak trees felled, drowned, dried and dismembered—to make them last—by man, in the name of God. A God who seemed strangely absent while a "forest fire" unmade that holy roof on Holy Week. Could it be that, in his infinite patience, he was waiting for man to save his wondrous creation, before he would stretch his omnipotent hand forth to save ours?

anthracnose fungi
cankering oak foliage
with tar-like spots . . .
the plague that is man
proving to be lethal

There was, not so long ago, another forest in Madagascar. Where twenty unique species of lemur leaped from branch to green-leaf branch, hunted only by the rare fossa—who, because it could never quite decide whether to be dog, or cat, or mongoose, became all three. A sanctuary of trees equally sheltering to mating pairs of each. But in the time it took to bring a film from can to screen, the entire forest disappeared. Swallowed from the map like a ripe fig.

feeding upon the dead
our legacy
may prove to be less moral
than morel

What, if anything, might be whispered among the ancient roots of those living forest floors? Do mycelium grieve? Do they mourn the deciduous beings that once towered, spire-like, above them? No sum of money can rebuild such cathedrals. But even God's work can be devoured by man's unholy fire.

from space
we watch our fossil-fueled world
burning . . .
cordyceps fungi, too, drive
their mad hosts towards the light

Author's Notes: A saprophyte is a plant, fungus, or microorganism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter. The title is a play on words derived from the adjective saprophytic.