Embrace by Janie StapletonPoecology
Issue 5

Caitlin Pryor


When we come home and see it, I decide to quit smoking.
It looms in June heat, a white fortress risen in the cat grass.

The white cap dusted with electrified spores, crackling with virile heat.
I part the green hair with two fingers to search for malignant moles

and find a legion at the planter’s rim. Leucocoprinus birnbaumii says my screen,
its beacon my flashlight, its pronouncement cold. Though poisonous,

some say, let them be. Add deer figurines to make a forest scene.
But I’ve had enough pleasure. I won’t live on dew and death.

Without deliberation, we tip the whole thing into the dumpster.
The box’s wood bottom flashes in the dark: alight with spores,

blazing with luteous seeds. This is my greatest fear, you say—
something awful has been growing. The thought that’s plagued me throbs:

that I owe you, at least, my whole life. To stay on this seething marble
as long as I can. Dutiful, I toss the xanthic pack of smokes.

When I come to you again I am not quite new. I creep to bed
tipped with ash—a little animal, a little hungry plant.