The mother’s comment

Once they [she and a man called Chandler] had a conversation, extending over many months, in broken bits, about mushrooms. He’d said the thing he hated about being in prison was the mushrooms. For several days, she wondered if he meant the food, but it didn’t make sense they served mushrooms in prison often enough to be a problem, or if he had a damp cell with fungus sprouting in the corners, but this, too, seemed extreme, and gradually she understood him to mean he had been able to see a patch of mushrooms, boletus, from his window and he used to go hunting for those in the woods with his mother when he was a kid and it made him sad. Not a mushroom fancier herself, she didn’t have anything subjective to say at the time, so she told him John Cage was a mushroom hunter, too, and wrote a book about it, a sort of mushroom guide, that she could lend him. Chandler didn’t answer. She wasn’t sure he read books or knew who John Cage was. Conversation is precarious. Now, as she looks at the very round, chalky pale pears, mushrooms come to mind again, and she says, One day, as I remember it, John Cage was out mushrooming with his mother, after an hour or so she turns to him and says, We can always go to the store and buy some real ones.

Anne Carson, 1 = 1, The New Yorker, 11/1/2016 (from here)

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