There’s graffiti on the mushroom shed
painted large, defiant,
in nothing like earth tones.
No brown, no beige, no muted gray,
(colors more appropriate
for the growing fungus within)
but loud raucous
vermillion, saffron, blood orange,
outlined in bold black letters
giant toadstools, undecipherable.
Hispanic men in hairnets
mill around with Management
perplexed by what has sprouted overnight,
vandalism in this place of processed food.
They gesture, waving arms
at the scope of the work,
the need for nerve and ladders
in the production of such a thing.
Who would bother to tag a mushroom shed?
This is not a city canvas,
not subway, rail car, overpass.
Why adorn gray cinderblock walls,
defying the assaulting smell,
the stench of sludge and excrement
fertilizing spores for mass consumption
of shitake, porcini, portabella,
bound for kitchens bright with copper
in desirable gated sub-divisions?
The men in hairnets
mill and tsk and shake their heads,
mouths forming who shapes.
But when Management looks away
they smile and whisper, admiring
the need for nerve and ladders,
and the splashes of color inappropriate
for the growing fungus within. W. Kay Washko is a freelance writer living in Pottstown, PA. She traces her family roots in Philadelphia back to early Swedish settlers and English Quakers, and has an avid interest in the history and culture of this area. Her poetry has appeared in the Awakenings Review (University of Chicago), and was selected by the Summit Arts Fellowship for an award in Poetry. Her short play, The Copy Machine, was produced by the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society for their annual fundraiser, Plays in Plain Clothes.

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