“Mycophagy” & Other Poems by Thomas E. Simmons

without frail gestures


Her yellow parachute detached       it slip-ungripped from a wrist
All her olives rolled away                  the wet hyssop was misplaced

Its minty twigs shriveled                   & the bullocks pointless
Her matchstick-style carrots            on blackened khokhloma

She was three kilos high                  bouncing hard on a rock
Puzzling at 1% and then                  within 23 minutes she was

Contoured out of commission        churn-butter rendering zinc

Her receptivity to the                       ascetical was cancelled out
Like a capitalist prank                      she thoroughly undid herself

Her translations of photons           all went unpublished + unread
Her cleansing casements                all collapsed & they crumbled

Roasted in the metal rains –          the hands of which – (if these
rains ever had hands) – were        so enormous & so uncongenial

that whatever lingered there        diminished 2-quick-primitively

Ragwort                                             numbed

Dismissed                                          unwelcome

Unfathered                                        succumbed

Placement-vacant                            basement-self-debasement

Faltered                                              wrecked

Garnished                                          wrecked

Wrecked                                             swept



Model Rocketry


She caromed. She zipped
A throaty turpentine voice

relayed unbiodegradable
fitly reproved enigmas &

it did so at just the right pace
neither rushed nor plodding

Not ‘quick as a limpet’ but
as ‘nimble as a pantomime’

Hitting the right spots, she
dabbed on her pulse points

her perfumed solvents; her
convoluted trails of exhaust –

pointing her pistols, she
grabbed life by the tonsils





Calvatias                    Puffballs of the whitest flesh
–                                  Which recall beefsteaks if
–                                  French-fried with cumin

Lycoperdons               Often found in half-shades,
–                                   Burnt-over lands, and rich woods
–                                   Try them baked in their own juice

Amanitas                    Ghastliness squared:
–                                   Its breath is fetid and sour
–                                   Its teeth thick and moist and mossy

Pleurotis                     Sultry queens of phantom manure
–                                  Pink spores; overlapping filed caps
–                                  Sautéed like oysters, they melt freely

Coprinus comatus       Freely forking on leaf-mold
–                                    If eaten raw, nutty and bitter
–                                    It has a shaggy-mane; it is inky

Coprinus micaeus       These – instead – are early-inky
–                                    They adorn rubbish heads of spittle
–                                    Don’t let their black juice repel you

Clavaria pulchra         A silver spoon against its skin
–                                   Will tickle these club-shaped ones;
–                                   They prefer resting caves and poles

Russula emetica          Orange-flecked globes which
–                                    Tell the best puns in the glade
–                                    If picked gently with turnip gloves

Morchellas                  Spongy, sweet, and jocular
–                                   Typically located near sand-ponds
–                                   Or between the toes of ogres

Fistulina hepatica       Somehow, if squeezed with cream
–                                    Into a muslin root ball over hot
–                                    Vinegar, these taste like osmosis

Polyporus sulphureus   This testy fan-shaped sulfur one
–                                      Can be surprisingly tough so
–                                      Try it stewed with rabbit legs

Lactarius deliciosus    Marked by concentric hues
–                                    The hoary-milk-mushroom
–                                    Is aromatic if baked correctly

Cantharellus              Its gills flicker and ripple
–                                  But only in the button stage
–                                  Its color? Dullest egg-yellow 

Hypomyces                 Funnel-shaped and heavy
–                                   Parasitic fungi with red coats
–                                   Which taste like hail stones

Marasmius oreades    With convex caps, erect
–                                    In fairy rings; hundreds;
–                                    Leathery, they decay slowly


—About the Author—

Simmons is a lawyer, a law professor, and a lifelong South Dakotan. His scholarship and teaching focuses on trusts and estates. He is an academic fellow and state chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. His poems can be found in El Portal, Corvus Review, Nebo, North Dakota Quarterly, Nine Muses, Thirteen Myna Birds, The Write Launch, Pasque Petals, The Showbear Family Circus, and elsewhere.  His first full length collection titled Tod Browning Loose-leaf Encyclopedia was published Cyberwit in 2020.