Leathery, pale yellow
chicken-pocked mushrooms
big as cupped hands
firmly domed on thick Roman stalks
strange invaders among
the supplicant grasses.

I am Alice struck dumb
by these fleshy, foreign fruits
emerged in the silent night
as I slept unaware,
opened in slow motion
dusty gills taking their first shadowy
breath in moonlight
scented with damp earth.

Do crickets stop to listen
to the sound of this expanding flesh,
a rubbery squeaking
like foam on foam?
In a few days the creamy caps
have curled up at the edges
withdrawn to cracked, brown fringe
sunken centers
turning them inside out
like wind-whipped umbrellas
shedding spores.

-Elizabeth Paxson

Elizabeth Paxson is a writer and graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Minneapolis College of Art. Short stories; “Crow Baby” published in June, 2019 and “They Lived in Trees,” October, 2019 with Night Picnic Press, a bilingual journal in English and Russian. Her first chapbook, “Always Birds,” is published with Redbird Chapbooks, June, 2019. Her poems have appeared in collections such as “Hawk & Whippoorwill,” “Equinox Journal,” “Peaceable Kingdom,” “Poet’s Night Out,” 2016-18, Pangolin Press, Squirrel Cane Press, and Tiny Seed Journal, among others. Web: