growth discarded

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

I went looking for the yardstick to measure bell pepper progress
and found an unknown gray growth
how could I have missed this life spilling out from bottom of pot?
how long has this grown unknown?

When I celebrated the beans and flower buds
cheered vines to climb
grateful for new blooms
did these spores and their dusty pollen yellow cousins
mistake my admiration, think it addressed to them?

secretly drinking the water I poured
while unnoticed soaking in sun as I dutifully turned pot towards and away from kitchen window

before their demise did they interpret my disdain?

and who forced my hand?

the faceless they

they say this type of life isn’t to be nurtured
they claim it harms what should be treasured

they apparently get to decide

They and Us
You and Me

and ironically
we’re all made from the same stuff
from fingernails to stardust

yet I smile at butterflies
and stomp centipedes
could be instinct
why do I feel remorse?

I never did grab the yardstick
measuring value became a weight too heavy for me
This admission feels silly
There’s plenty my sadness could be spent on instead

After all it’s not truly a death when one doesn’t value the life

harm rationalized away because
it’s just some fungus
just a bug
just a weed
just a zygote
just an illegal’s caged offspring





-Terimarie Degree

Poet Terimarie Degree has lived everywhere from San Diego, California to Adak, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Her work includes reflections on faith, coming of age in the 1980s and the beauty found in the natural world. She is published in six print publications with others forthcoming.