Alina Stefanescu: Among the Lichenologists

Among the lichenologists,
I am less provocative than
mottled pink fluff on a rock.

Lichenologists love me for sitting
and staring, my eyes distributing generosity
to unmoving, insensate objects.

No lichenologist is disraptured
when the blue plumage of a catbird
makes me scream what a king!

No rock flies off as a result
of my vocalizations, which is why
the lichenologists love me
more than the birders
for whom I pose problems.

Arriving without binoculars,
burdened by large enthusiasm-buds,
my volume aligned at natural orgy pitch,
the birders maintain a healthy distance.

I perch near some lichen
and drop crumbs
for non-existent pigeons which is
always the right thing to do in a book.
The birders reserve their words
for staccato whispers.

This is why I hoot and holler
when spotting the obscene scarlet
underpants of the painted bunting,
the rare bird I scared away
before the birders could
humiliate it with their polite,
conquering checkmarks.


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