I lift my snout warily, sniff the air, swaying on my haunches
like an old truck with bad shocks.
My nostrils flare. I am the oldest
of all my race, my race the oldest of all.
In the second grade I was in love
with a little girl named Susan. In the first
with a girl named Julie. I still remember
how Julie walked to the front of the room
to hand in her assignments. I remember the smell of chalk.
I loved her foolishly and completely, exactly
the way I love now. I don't think anything has changed.
Except that now I am vast, having grown a new chamber
every year, to my enormous shuddering heart.
A new tree-ring. I grow annually more ridiculous,
more huge, more slow. My heavy paws thud
to the ground. I shake my head, and my ears whip
and clap. I might dig for truffles today,
if the soil is damp and the air is dry,
(carrying those secret messages
that only my kind receive.) Look up!
The leaves come falling on my scuffly head;
Julie's hair swings back, and Susan tilts her face,
a hint of mushroom haunts the air,
and all the stars are breathing underground.