Inky Cap Mushroom (Coprinus comatus)

From: Alice Said

“Inky Cap Mushroom”

(Coprinus comatus)

As if each hooded thumb had known
how brief, how brusque its breath of time would be
free from the sleepy, subterranean world
of worm and grub, root and slumberous seed –

what springs above the platform
of silky moss and lichen on loam
wastes no time – well prepped for its swift retreat,
willing to leave nothing

but the remnants of autodigestion:
a weak and stained stalk, soon subsiding;
a pink cap, pale and dissolving,
withering down to an oily, shapeless smudge.

The beauty each toadstool gains with fervor
will quickly slip and drain away:
its blotted shape curtailed, drawn back
to the patient, passive, tomb-like womb of life.

Credit: First appeared in Appalachia 56.1: 93.