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Duggan & Miller – August 2023

Jules Miller and Teresa Duggan traded art and words. Teresa shared this image, titled “Mushroom Magic,” with Jules:

In response, Jules wrote this poem:


I find solace in the fact that I am carrying within me
the things that will break me down.
The spores of something that decided, long ago, to tackle
organic matter that could not be budged—bark—
tearing into it not with teeth, but touch,
an army of tiny arms
and tendrils, mycelium that hug, that hold.

It is within me now. Maybe it has always been.

I catch it at night, stretching its hivemind threads,
fanning over me like the shade of an oak as I lie still—
to glimpse it like this, I need to pretend I am gone.
How beautiful, the clusters of stalks, the shimmer of colors
known only to the colony of my resting body, as they twist
and turn and reach for the moon through the skylight,
pressing spore prints to the pane of glass too high
for me to touch on my own.

How beautiful, that when I wake in the morning, I breathe,
and they scatter inside me,
coiled in like garter snakes in the hibernaculum of my chest,
that the impression of their endless folds will smile down from above
and within.

* * * * *

Jules shared this poem with Teresa:

Cherry Sweet 

Tempted to taste
that cherry sweet
shrimp berried without
care or haste, they breed.
Carry berries, dots,
life in a speck of time.
Sakura, fire red painted bodies—
ghosts lie limp and colorless
without your wiggling feelers in them. 

Feel the burst,
the resistance of the membrane
when I take my fingers to your fruit
to gauge how much pressure
your eggs can take.
I need to know if you can survive
in the space I curated for you.
Your pristine pool is sat atop my desk, precarious. 

Seeing you run, agitated, along the glass
reminds me of myself; skittering maxillipeds
fidgety, hungry for something to shred.
Cherry shrimp bulletproof,
cherry shrimp delicate,
cherry shrimp object worth worship.
Nebulous faux eternal.
You shed yourself and yet, you are still
here with me. 

Eat your ghosts and raise your dot daughters
like stars in your image.

In response, Teresa made this image, titled “Nebulous Faux Eternal”:

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