Amanita Phalloides

Finally this forest may offer up its bounty

after the dry winter and last night’s rain.

We are all here, even Addie

who has been eating poison for months.

Mysophagists ask that we not consume toxic mushrooms—

it reflects badly on them if we die.

A picture of the death cap

looks like the creminis I sliced for salad last night.

We spread out, family and friends, looking

for growing things, vegetative colonies, mutating cells,

searching not for plants—but fungi,

like mildew, or smut, or yeast.

They look like gnomes and sea creatures,

one a puffball like my daughter’s pregnant belly.

Yesterday Addie shouted out Fuck cancer

and today she wants to photograph shrooms.

I don’t know how to identify the edible ones,

so I decide the most beautiful are psilocybin.

We need to fill our buckets.

I’d like some chanterelles, Addie lobsters.

We hunt for an hour until a light rain falls

and we grow still.

I fear we don’t have enough yet, but enough for what?

We line them up on a log

and Addie sets her camera.

When she posts the pictures, all the red, fat, bulbous, phallic,

oceanic, pulpy, orange, black-spotted mushrooms,

all the laughter and spores,

float freely through the wet woods.



Pam Davenport lives in the Sonoran Desert and earned an MFA in creative writing at Pacific University. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in various publications and anthologies, including Nimrod, Bared: An Anthology of Bras and Breasts, The Avalon Literary Review, Snapdragon, Rougarou, Chiron, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Spilled Milk Magazine, and Four Chambers.