In the high meadows, 
saffron-bright chanterelles  
scent the air with apricot, pumpkin— 
baby toes barely emerging from leaf
mulch and full blown gold
trumpets, ready to hand-coax
from duff beds or edge with small
blades from clefts in the shale—  
girolles, pfiferlings, capo gallos,
lisitjkas, peppery and fruity, 
waiting just for this moment
to wipe with damp cloths
and sauté in sweet butter,
a last taste of summer.

Lower down on the lake trails,
porcini are popping
at the bases of white spruce,
lodged where the roots start,
peeking out from small rocks
blanketed with spruce needles,
bedded in sod—fat little
piglets lifting their heads
among dead leaves, bark
shavings, bitter browns
and witches hats. 
From a mountain world
of round growth and wood
color, they call me by glints of raw
umber, rock shape and earth
odor, virile and redolent,
king boletes to dry
and flavor our winter.

So how can I choose, love,
between the dark of the forest
and the light breaking through?

A professional writer for most of her adult life, Joan Roberta Ryan is now an emerging poet in Taos, New Mexico. Her recent works have appeared in Nimrod, Spillways, Naugatuck River Review, Atlanta Review, Ekphrasis, Roanoke Review, Calyx, Cold Mountain Review, Off The Coast, Euphony, Concho River Review, Cape Rock and other venues.  Her collection, Dark Ladies and Other Avatars, is forthcoming in 2016.