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Anne Doe-Overstreet

Moss Stitch

The bryophyte, with barb and spore, harpoons
its history, latches on the drag of time. Who understands
the past? What persists? That primitive that's bided
all these years resists the shovel blade. There's a moss stitch
my neighbor tried to demonstrate, a cushion drawn by needle—
one knit, one purl—that mimics the hummock-trough
in well-soaked climes. The kitchen's painted rain-
forest green, the closest match in color to the Permian
ghost of sphagnum. Irrefutable. Having found
a way to vary while depending on a tried and true
genetic glut of wind-borne spores, on it goes,
the permanent impermanence purling on beneath the ice,
drifting to the edge of the millennium. Ötzi the iceman bound
his wounds with bog moss; the moss—six kinds consumed as well
—survived (along with Ibex meat), though Ötzi died, an arrow punched
between his yellow bones. The poor you have, the sphagnum, peat,
the frequent repetition of the swallowed ghosts, the moss-
stitched boots that kept his feet from freezing. This year
at home it's witches' hair that cradles Rufus hummingbirds
and winter wrens, which signals something's changing—
the climate or the quality of air. And this may be exactly
what I need: the constancy of moss as it goes on
surefooted in the face of alteration, still
launching forward, tender seta and peristome.

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