Eating Mushrooms in the Sequoia National Park

Abigail Green-Dove poetry Forth magazine Eating Mushrooms in Sequoia National Park

I am covered in earth,
high on mushrooms and pacing the Lake Isabella shoreline
in a bell-shaped curve, an empty trajectory.
There’s a group of us and the consensus is that
they taste disgusting and when the nausea hits
you know they’re working, but
I think they taste like chocolate and chalk
and I’m not feeling nausea as much as machismo.

We’ve spiraled out into rings dependent on
how many stems we ate and how fast our metabolism is
with Daniel and the two Alexs
(Alex with the knives and Alex with the guitar)
in the smallest, center ring, talking to trees and
holding conversations with the kings
on playing cards. Meanwhile, I’m
at the farthest ring looking in, high
but not too high and drawing nonsense in the dirt.

The dirt streaked on my arms seeming muscles
and the slick sunscreen on my arms seeming sweat.
I feel masculine, powerful, a chauvinist
and I say, “I need a blowjob and a beer.”
One of the Alexs (I can’t remember which)
comes to and asks if that’s what I think men think
and it is.

I never want to wash again, or sleep, move, fall in love again.
I want to feel the dirt caked on my body forever.
I want to smell like dirt and sleep in it and wake up
still smelling like dirt and trees and dead grass.
But the moment passes
and the mushrooms are digested into my body
and evaporate into my bloodstream
and I take a lukewarm shower in the campground bathroom
and wash the masculinity out of my hair,
watch my power roll down the drain.


Forth magazine, issue 4