mushroom grower

my uncle is starting to forget his past
and his future these days
meanwhile my aunt remembers my quirks
and sends me a small log
that shows up on thanksgiving
“grow your own shiitakes” I read
as I submerge it in a 5 gallon bucket

gifts can take so many forms
shiitakes in the backyard
clean sheets on a bed
silence when it’s needed

when my uncle started to forget where he parked his car
he’d raise a racket
but when he forgot
that he even drove to the store in the first place
waiting on a bench for my aunt to get him
he stopped saying anything
always a man beyond his years
it was terrifying
to watch them creep up now
not at all
then all at once

my aunt
she just strapped in
and started driving
the house the dogs the life the years
she keeps all of it in her pockets now
and despite how full
and heavy
those pockets must be
she held a log for me
to grow mushrooms in my backyard
and I
with nearly nothing in my pockets
have somehow forgotten
to pull out a thank you

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