Death Cap Mushroom (Amanita phalloides)

From: Alice Said

“Death Cap Mushroom”

(Amanita phalloides)

Forget about the produce aisle –
you’ll never find a Death Cap
imprisoned by bar codes,
pre-priced and packaged

in sterile, blue styrofoam coffins.
It’s the envy of all those domesticated –
mimicking its sleek, simple cloak,
but not its toxic content.

It holds no prejudice, plays no bluff
when fueling a fool’s malfunctions:
at first, a few obscured signs of falter –
a tad bit of slightness

irking muscles seldom used –
all followed by a trickster’s quick retreat.
Yet the final, fatal strike
lingers not too far behind:

The sudden heaving of blood and bile,
the uncontrollable discharge of waste –
all as one’s liver, one’s kidneys falter,
and life expires.

Credit: First appeared in Blueline 30: 89.