The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

The Year of the Morel

by Mather Schneider

When I was a kid
every spring we’d go mushrooming
for morels,
big wrinkly things that looked like
cone-head brains on stems.
Usually they were about 4 or 5 inches
tall and a couple
inches wide,
but one time my dad came home
from a solitary expedition
and he had a morel mushroom that was
over a foot tall.
We took a picture of it next
to his drafting ruler.
That was 35 years ago.
I asked him about it on the phone
“Where’s that picture gone to?”
“Lost,” he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” I said.
“Me neither,” he said.
He still lives in Illinois and still goes
mushrooming every spring,
but says each year
they get smaller and smaller.
I wonder if anyone
will believe me: that mushroom
was over a foot tall,
and at least 6 inches wide.
It was a monster.
This was the last year
we were all still together.
My mom cut it up and rolled it in crumbs
and fried it,
and we ate it, like that,
as a family.

MATHER SCHNEIDER is a 39 year old cab driver from Tucson. He has a Mexican girlfriend who is teaching him Spanish and humility. He has been published in many journals in the small press since 1996.