after Lavinia Hanachiuc
The Eastern Wind brushes through the flora, spreading blue and fuschia seeds outside their ring of average influence. She ranges the landscape, gaunt from winter’s lean, but her electric feet awaken in the ground a sudden green profound and painful urge to procreate: everything remembers swollen, everything remembers heat, everything lives tighter in its own skin.
What she doesn’t notice, as she wobbles longitude and latitude on spindly legs, bestirring the dormant, is the chuffing and wheezing of the short-stalked creature hurrying along behind her, its veiled and netted ascocarp unwieldy in the undergrowth. Though others of its kind are firmly grounded, this fruiting body got a most potent blast of wind, so, like any newly awakened thing, took off running after she who awakened it, something like “mother,” helter-skelter, hell for leather, lickety-split and chop chop.
It’s a savvy fleshy newborn thing; it cannot compete with the Wind for speed but the wind cannot compete with it for urgency. It tucks and rolls down hills clever as a pillbug, flings itself forward on broken glinting spider-silks, jumps on puffball mushrooms so they explode it a little further along. It gets close to her sometimes; so close it can count the cracks in the Wind’s dry blue heels.
The closest the Wind can come to looking back is circling around. She cannot simply reverse, else she wouldn’t be the Eastern Wind: she moves from West to East, finding her way through and around impediment, until she tires, and stops.
When the Eastern Wind disappears into the doldrums, her hot pursuer finds some bare high ground on which to wait, sentinel. But without the Wind’s rousing sound, the creature slowly settles, sessiles. Stills.
And now we can name it, because it is still. (For the freest things, the fastest things, the smallest things, the fleetest and the slightest things, the invisible things and the inaudible things and the best-camouflaged things, if they are lucky, escape our notice, escape our naming, escape, perhaps their own death.) Morchella. Its insides are a labyrinth without a center, a trap for the wind, her endless return.
Katie Farris is the author of boysgirls, (Marick Press, 2011), a hybrid form text which Robert Coover once called “a little tour de force.” She has also co-translated several books of poetry from the French, Chinese, and Russian. She received her MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and currently teaches in the MFA program at San Diego State University.
Lavinia Hanachiuc is a Romanian-born ceramic artist and fine art photographer. Her work originates from an organic mélange of eastern European folklore and superstitions, Latin blood and memories from a childhood lived under an oppressive political regime. She was among the first generation of young artists to enter the highly competitive Bucharest University of Fine Arts during the post communist era. Hanachiuc has resided in the United States since completing her university studies and has continued to create fine art ceramics, production pottery, and fine art photography.