Only two mushrooms to eat this morning,
sprung from the top of my right foot,
pale slender stalks with drooping lids.
They scarcely had weight when I laid them in my mouth
where my tongue used to be
and gnashed my teeth.
For years I could count on waking to plenty,
my ribs a field of oyster caps,
puffballs tenderly bunched in my armpits.
Long morels covered with twisted mouths
were my crown, my collar, my ears;
I never went hungry.
Then for a season I bore a strange fungus,
a pure burnt mineral black, absorbing
every available grain of light
and falling apart like charcoal at a touch.
I ate it, since it fed on me,
and yet I lost ground.
Where I used to live, rings of gilled umbrellas
materialized in the grass wherever they chose.
So, shrunken in my bandages, hollow-legged,
I pace wet gutters in daylight traffic,
holding my remnants wide to the breeze
for any spores that will have me.
Copyright © 2013 Sarah Lindsay
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.