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The Mummy Walks

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.

from Debt to the Bone-Eating SnotflowerFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Sarah Lindsay
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Poems Sarah Lindsay

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.