Opening Act
by Maralee Gerke

The final curtain of summer,
drapes its leaf strewn hem
along the drowned verges of gravel roads
setting the scene for chantrelle, slippery jack,
shaggy mane, and puffball

They press back a woven mat of leaves
and rise, spreading caps of orange, purple,
white, and biscuit brown.
They yield to nothing, hold minute salty
lakes in upturned cups, and fulfill the promise of rain.

In a ragged chorus line, they
traipse across the forest floor
performing the opening act in
autumn's show; dying for applause.


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