saprotrophic nutrition by Alexander M. Koch

the velvet porous brown
underside of Phellinus igniarius
topped by a hard, black surface
with fissures that cross

creating lines of direction
a topography of layered crust
I follow the contours
tracing them with sandpaper fingers
back to the bark of the tree
where the bark splits in vertical segments

creating its own topography

the underside of the fungus
where the brown pores
are minute and closely packed
releases microscopic spores
that gather along the bark
to find an entrance
and begin the process of mycelial growth
that will hasten the tree’s decline
forming a white-rot

the fissures within fissures
the forest cycle
of decay