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Tamar Yoseloff

If we think dishonestly, or malignantly, our thoughts 

will die like evil fungi – dripping corrupt dew 

                                       John Ruskin, Proserpina


The smell –

wet anorak, fusty books, disturbed dust

of long unopened doors –

like the basement of your childhood,

beautiful scary darkness.


They poke

their tiny heads through dirt,

explorers from another age, and find

a world glassy with rain, a forest

thick with leaf mulch.


A good one,

if you’re starving, could save

your life. A bad one would kill you

after only one bite. Step on its poison head,

it billows black fumes.


Lost in the woods

and hungry, how to tell them apart?

You can trust the feel of flesh on your tongue,

good meat – you know it won’t hurt you,

you’re a bit of a witch yourself.


From Magma No. 36 (Winter 2006)