MUSHROOM m i n d

By Steph Raymond All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Poetry



She had just finished her final class of the week. Her sister stayed home and so she was alone while waiting for the bus.

Sunlight spilled over the landscape,

though she could still see her breath like small clouds

in the air around her.

The sun shone brightly, and flickered over the body of someone walking towards her, hands in front of his face, lighting a cigarette.

She knew immediately who it was

by the way his body moved so smoothly,

like steady ripples in a pond,

even in the cold.

And of course, in the way he breathed and r e l e a s e d

the smoke of his cigarette.


Caleb greeted her with a smile

before turning his head to the side to blow the smoke away.


The sun hit her eyes directly

so that she was squinting

as his body came into full focus beneath the sun rays.

“How was class?’ He asked.

“Fine. I probably should have just stayed home.”

He laughed, and it pierced through her invasively.

She watched his mouth curve upward and over his perfect teeth, looking away, head in the sun. God he was so fucking beautiful.

“Why did you come if you didn’t go to class?”

She asked him.

He shrugged,

“I debated it.”

He didn’t elaborate.

It was one of the most frustrating things about him.

He covered himself in mystery, never willing to give any part of himself away.

He was vague whenever he spoke about himself,

leaving her with more wanting and curiosity

than she’d ever felt toward any other human being.

The need to know more about him frightened her, so she was careful not to ask too many questions.

The bus came soon enough, they were one of the firsts to board, and he took the seat beside her.

“So, you like to read,”

he stated and she nodded,

“Have you ever read House of Leaves?”

She shook her head,

“I’ve never heard of it, what is it about?”

“A Door. A hallway. Maybe it’s about ourselves?

Who’s to say what it’s really about?”

“Don’t do that.”

He smiles, “What?”

he asks what his smile reveals he already knows.

She stares at his mouth a second or two too long…

noticing the fullness of it,

the light curve of his lip over his teeth,

revealing the most striking smile she’d ever see in her lifetime.

She tried to deny it, and oh how she hated how much she ached to know

what his mouth felt like against hers.

“Be so vague

and offer no detail to my question.”

She answered dryly, avoiding eye contact by staring at the strangers lining up in the isle

to fit more bodies on the bus.

He laughs and gives in.

“So these people, they buy this house…”

He starts, “thinking, you know,

that it will be a quiet cozy house.

Normal like them.

Suddenly a door shows up out of nowhere

in one of the hallways, and when they open it,

it takes their seemingly normal and one dimensional lives

and instead shows them a maze.

A hidden world of information they either didn’t know,

forgot, or had hidden away.”

He forces eye contact with her and she watches the sun lighten the green in his eyes, making them water and wave in shades of sage.

“It’s about getting lost in the most familiar of places.”

He continues, “Sometimes we think we know

something inside out, until we look deeper,

open our minds to truth and secrets

to find a hidden labyrinth where we once saw nothing at all.”

She thought about this, about how true it really was.

How she had experienced firsthand what secrets lay beneath layers of skin within herself and the others around her.

Secrets made from darkness and l i g h t ,

lies and stories and different worlds.

How our own minds contain the most complex of labyrinths, and she was trying her best to understand and decipher her own.

When Gemma got off the bus she immediately went to the book store to buy her own copy of the book. She had to hurry, as she had an important phone call to make and her own party to get ready for.

But she could not help that her m i n d

was clouded with secrets and desires

and a heavy wanting for another life or maybe another world altogether.

She was still too young to understand that she is the curator of her own life…

the penholder…

the story teller.

She fought too hard to

d i s c o n n e c t

herself and paid the price by losing sight of truth.

She could not see that her limbs were trunks with roots that connected themselves to the strength of the very earth they grew from—

That each emerging seed bore constellations more complex and more beautiful than the galaxies of this universe—

That her mind held more depth and mystery than the most abysmal black hole…

that each cell carried within it a piece of her consciousness,

holding galaxies so vast and bright—

beauteous and never-ending,

wavering yet constant.

Rooted but Growing.

Leaves shed themselves and fall to the ground,

tapping like steady fingertips against a window pane

ready and waiting to announce that it’s time for a new season.

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