Mushrooms, for example by Francine Witte

Mildred never cared much for them. Says they are too much like men, and you can’t always smell the poison. So when her best friend, Jen, waves a Portobello under Mildred’s nose, she can’t help but turn away.

“You promised to try,” her best friend, Jen, says. “It’s because you’re jealous of me, right?”

Mildred knows this is a beehive. One wrong poke, and all that.

“Who wouldn’t be jealous of you?” Mildred smiles. “Your beauty, your cooking skills?”

“Then eat,” her best friend, Jen demands.

Mildred takes a grimace-y bite. It’s a tangerine, she says inside her head. Or better yet, a fingerling potato, a tender juicy steak.

Her best friend, Jen is watching Mildred carefully, twirling a stray strand of hair the way Mildred hates.

“This is delicious,” Mildred says, her mouth still full of mushroom.

“Then swallow.” Jen says. “I’ve got all day.

Mildred thinks back to the other times Jen got what she wanted. The cutest pup from the neighbor’s litter, the calfskin purse Mildred had her eye on. And then, of course, Mildred’s husband, Harry.

Mildred sits there, not so budgy this time. No, this time she will chew and chew all night if that’s what it comes down to.

Francine Witte is the author of five chapbooks. Her forthcoming full-length poetry collection, Cafe Crazy, will be published by Kelsay Books. She lives in NYC.

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