|Edible mushrooms in a basket by George Chernilevsky|
Grandmother spoke mushrooms like no one else
Chanterelles, she said, morels true but don’t
eat the jack-o’-lanterns and false morels
death caps and destroying angel mushrooms.
Stick to lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms—
look for the ring around the stem, she said,
and she took me for walks with her basket
for gathering, her tiny knife for roots.
Gloves protected her fingers from poison
when she picked one each of look-a-likes to
match against pictures in her mushroom book
at home. This was my favorite part, turning leaves.
Past undecipherable Latin names
were life-sized pictures with descriptions for
the mix and match game we played thoroughly
before washing and stir frying our treat.
Was it safe? I live to tell the tale, though
I have since learned the ring can also lie.
Our woods, though, mothered and welcomed us, andGrandmother spoke mushrooms like no one else.
For my prompt
Copyright © 2015 S.L.Chast