James Strowman: a poem



Lichen


Once there, lurking

beneath the skin, it grows


like something akin to the scheming

between fungus and bacteria.


Lichen, its speckled, sour-green patches

nature's blush of envy, is the foam


at the foot of an ailing tree; it lives off

licks of air, then spreads,


sprawling across even the hardest stone, still,

breathing, breeding, mocking the meat


it feeds on, until a splash of vinegar

and a putty knife scrapes it away.



James Strowman lives in Paris, where he is completing a doctorate in musicology and teaching contemporary Anglophone music and poetry at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Frogmore Papers, The Blue Nib Literary Magazine, and Ink Sweat & Tears.