Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Indian Pipe

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Indian Pipe

Article excerpt

I came to love late,

as in a forest clearing

one walks at dusk

& spies, in the

needlemass, that

pale clump, un-

suspected, not there

just a few hours

before: Indian pipe,


that draws its life

from the roots

of others by way

of a third organism

largely unseen.

It is not at all clear

what the indian

pipe offers

either of its hosts:

the fungus

from which its roots

draw, or the pine

on which the fungus

feeds. Its flowers

flecked with

pink unfurl

to the vertical

& then, in a night,

the whole blackens

like a discarded


We were never

here. I search

the needle-lift for

their ghost-

presence. It is not

like night, a poet

wrote, of blindness.

They do not

transplant easily

& are even harder

to raise from

seed (from the dead

I almost wrote);

no one

is completely sure

how they pollinate.

It's best, one website

suggests, that

if you want them,

you recreate

the conditions under

which they're

most likely to thrive. …

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