Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.


I like to look at photographs of Audrey.
Even the last one where she stands in the backyard on Paulson Drive.
She holds a basket of mushrooms.
She explains the underbelly of a large cap:
fawn-coloured gills for breathing in burning buildings,
curled lip-rim for keeping cups and saucers in place on high seas,
cork-filled trunk for stoppering bottles of honeysuckle milk
or bottles of watermelon wine.
I like to look at photographs of Audrey, set the static image in motion.
Audrey waves amanita muscaria towards the tree line.
She says soak them in vodka, tincture for radiation burns.
She recites a recipe, equal parts blue sawgrass and pine sap;
putty for spackling the stone-faced goddesses that guard her secrets,
pitch pine knots for torches, lighting the way for star-nosed moles,
spirit of turpentine to keep our wounds clean and the lice away,
pulpwood for paper airplanes, especially capable and pilotless.
I like to look at photographs of Audrey, recall sound where there is now only sepia.
Mother shouts at Audrey from an upstairs window:
put them down,
wash your hands,
don’t make me come down there,
just you wait till your father gets home.
But Audrey spins circles: laughing at mother, laughing at me, laughing at the centripetal force which keeps the mushrooms safely in the bottom of the basket.

Amy BurnsAmy Burns is the Managing Editor of Mulberry Fork Review. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Glasgow. Amy’s prose and poetry has appeared both online and in print. For more visit:

Categories: Poetry

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1 reply


  1. Mushroomed… | Amy Elizabeth Burns

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