Lives of Truffles

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December 22, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Alison Hicks


Homing, it’s called, when fungal hyphae attract other hyphae
fuse and branch to form a spreading, sensing net,
in the dark under our feet, where we don’t care to look, 
stitching roots and soil together.

Fluent in chemicals, mycorrhizal networks have no need of sun, 
get sugar from tree roots they must partner with or die.
The underground fruit
produces scents volatile enough to rise through earth,
penetrate senses of animals who live on the surface,
compelling enough to dig up and consume,
every bite packed with spores.

Through the subterranean mycelium spreads 
feeding by touch, exploring,
its shifting shape its map and history—
where it’s been and where it’s going—
meeting the world where it is, digesting.


Alison Hicks is the winner of the 2021 Birdy Poetry Prize from Meadowlark Press for Knowing Is a Branching Trail. Previous collections are You Who Took the Boat Out and Kiss, a chapbook Falling Dreams, and a novella Love: A Story of Images. Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Gargoyle, Permafrost, and Poet Lore, and Green Hills Literary Lantern. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops.





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