Amanita bisporigera

by Amy Love
If her woods turn as dark as her mother’s, I’ll rue what I’ve taught her.
This child too young to tie her shoes knows oyster, morel, chanterelle.
She knows foxfire glows a warning — jack o’lanterns aren’t for eating — 
and she puts nothing in her mouth I have not checked. 
She minds the rules. She wants to stay alive. 

At home we have a safe now but a forest steps away, and it’s there 
I find her fashioning a fairy house from the most potent poison
she knows: a Destroying Angel sheltering her whole family 
of acorn-faced pixies with beech leaf wings. Snow white, poised, 
I’m afraid I can see why she’d choose it. 

As lethal on the tongue as the barrel of a gun this one grows wild, 
unlockable, unpermitted. Luminescent in a lightless gully, 
from the dank leaf litter a seraph rises unsullied 
and spreads her immaculate wings. Holy, holy terror. 
How it shines.

About the author

Amy Love is a librarian in North Carolina. She lives high in the mountains with her young daughter.

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