for Marshall Hartwich

The fern, in infinite slowness,
uncurls each frond; each frond a sister
to another, so many fingers and hands

learning to flourish on the underside
of things. The fern is steady, unafraid
of the dark, pushing through stem, bark,

growing vein by stubborn vein through
morning dew and winter rain. Mists
gather to watch the rills incise themselves

and ripen with spores ready for release –
the beginnings of another, sprung from moss:
fragile, maidenlike, translucent in the light.