Species—Micromphale*

*“Delightful small people but smelling strongly of garlic.”
-Suzanne Lucas: In Praise of Toadstools

Shy little boys cling to the waistcoats
of trees with their caps pulled low.
Little boys run, sending up spores and dust,
they stretch their hyphae
into community pantries

sprouting upwards from volvas (not vulvas)
and skidding their fungal feet into the
neighbors’ Earthen carpets, Into worm-filled upholstery,
Into the sighing screen doors wafting food spores
which graze their Laccarian gills, but their

little-boy mycelium never root. Not in concrete,
tile or pavement, but they float and flay their scales
to fan the ground and dance over fertile soil releasing
from their fruiting bodies: Asci first, basidia when
that won’t work, popping Blisters

in the ground with secret names.
Growing bodies twice their stalk-lengths, bursting through
the annulus, little boys curl, purpling, rebirthed
from dirt, crown bulbous heads like saprophytes,
to eat the neighbors’ cats—or, they bend

brittle-stemmed, shimmer darkly and
sleep outside on beds of moss to dream up
spotty mushroom rings who glisten like the star-
white backs of grubs in twilight dew,
barely beneath the earth’s dark gemstone crust.

“It was found only twice in solitary grace, on earth banks under beeches and quite ravishing with the loveliness of grey and white and a dancing form. Two of the painted group were successive stages of one toadstool.”
-Lucas

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