Mushrooms by Patricia Nelson


Picking mushrooms at the edge of dread—Adrienne Rich

What leads you to the soundless mushrooms,
still, cool moons in the black earth:
the low and loaf-white forest
slowly altering a vast, strange shade?

Not the work you walk through,
your task that seems to disentangle
you from nothingness.
Not the thrumming bridge of reality.

Maybe there’s a small dark flower
in your forehead, made of quiet,
ancient, simple, creased
from leaning on your dreaming.

Or maybe there are unborn unicorns
near the mushrooms, waiting
for the hoof and the wild horn
to take them to those who see them.

Or anything that slides the wilderness
of small lights, moth-pale and crooked
through the fluttering transom
or under the dark door.

How patient that light is,
holding the silent, dreamt things:
the bent and wild silver, twisted in the rock,
the soft, slant snails shining forward.



Patricia Nelson works with the “Activist” poets and has a new book out, Out of the Underworld, Poetic Matrix Press.


Photograph by Nicole Gordine. 

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