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The Colors Mushrooms Wear


Scarlet garbs and warms, recalls

embers on white-hot ash, pulses

sanguine and unstoppable. It is

the color of a day devoted to good

causes with strawberry shortcake

and whipped cream at its end.


Pumpkin rushes to amuse with its maze

of vines, its promise of toothless grins.

It soothes and beckons, weaves tendril

shawls and taunts dull hours. It is

the color of autumn afternoons—

plump and filled with sweet-tooth wishes.


For an evening out choose melon veined

with whispers of white lace. Slow-dance

melodies flow from the folds, but leave

no footprints. These are the colors

of a woodland ball and if you

carry a fan, you will fit right in.


Gray is necessary for quiet days

though it harbors the slumbering energy

of blue and purple in the trim

of its morning attire. It is the color

of a dirge, that with time will wander

toward a major key’s Picardy Third.


Black worn at night rustles past

unseen, unsettling complacency

and leaving an aftertaste

of poppy-seed enchantment.

It is the color any dream can

ask to dance.

Shiny Things

“. . . childhood teaches us/to covet shiny things.” Kari Gunter-Seymour


The moon never sleeps—clever

illusionist—she disappears,

shifts shapes, clips on masks,

tempts cheese fans, backdrops

swooning lovers, steals sun’s

light, tugs at tides without strings.


We would have called her

looney at home, where some 

of the shiny things I learned to bow to

in childhood were handcuffs of duty and rigor.


Now, barred in my room of scribbled lists

and mental deadlines, I am far from

knowing if by moongazing I might

someday pay my bail, be free.

Nancy K. Jentsch’s poetry has appeared recently in Amethyst Review, Braided Way and Verse-Virtual. Her chapbook, Authorized Visitors, was published in 2017 (Cherry Grove Collections) and Between the Rows, her first poetry collection, was released by Shanti Arts in 2022. More information is available on her website:

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