Fantastic Fungi

by Jessie Salisbury

Edible or not, they cluster
At the edge of the lawn under the dying ash tree;
Champagne flutes of cream and faded gold
Bending on their seeming-sturdy stems,
Becoming frayed fans in muted orange and faded bronze;
Broken-edged caps splayed across the grass
Reaching upward toward the sunlight.

Distinct from the mushrooms,
Dainty caps and slender stalks
Growing apart from the flashier cups,
Keeping themselves apart
In their own tight clump,
Aloof from the fungi world:
The fairies’ umbrellas.

They came
Suddenly one damp night,
Orange knobs appearing among the weeds,
Suddenly exploding into cups and fans
Between gigantic tree roots,
To amaze and delight the passerby
Until they are gone,
Crumbled into the soil from which they came.


Jessie Salisbury has lived in the area for over 70 years and was an original member of the Monadnock Writers’ Group. She has been a part-time reporter for several area newspapers, including the Monadnock Ledger (before it was the Ledger-Transcript), where she originated the history column. Jessie currently writes for The Cabinet of Milford and The Telegraph of Nashua.