City down to the last nuance is moss,

straightleaved, twisten, fossilized in travertine,

some that lives on rotting

wood or the sunniest crest in Central Park,

other whose resilience but for a cup of water is stifled.

Mosses don’t need to grow flowers

or fruit or wings – angels are or are not here, birds some –

to show continuous creation. They are not degenerate

but remind us of degenerousy.

They are what the imagination needs.

Bellevue, storefronts of diamond cutters,

banks, scripture on placards,

men shouting at each other in voices pure as iron

and tar, museums of modern art,

theatres, tacquerias are side by side,

but moss is what the imagination needs.

With buttermilk, cheap beer, or water

make a slurry. Spores will appear on compacted soil

if acid is high and in deep shade.

Hundreds upon hundreds of versions

and sillouettes will billow forth,

in a green cosmos turrets, hair arrows, and fans

to grapple with nothing it has yet known.



Four Pushcart Prize anthologies have published poems by Carol Frost, and Poetry, Shenandoah,  Gettysburg Review, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Subtropics, Poetry International, Kenyon Review, and The New Republic. Entwined: Three Lyric Sequences, her twelfth collection, appeared in 2014 from Tupelo Press. She teaches at Rollins College, where she is the Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence Alfond Professor of English and she directs Winter with the Writers, a yearly literary festival.



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