A pile of shitakes

on the cutting board

their humped caps

like turtle shells,

a protection I recognize

in myself.  But the mushrooms’

edges are split,

fragile as the turtle must be

under its shell.


Gently I brush bits

of mushroom soil from their gills.

I snap stems off caps,

remembering my husband

finds them tough.

Though I myself admire

their musky sturdiness

and don’t mind chewing.