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  • Kirby Wright

Three flashes // Kirby Wright

The Mushroom Ghosts of Finland

I have a strange confession—ghosts are nibbling on purple mushroom caps. It’s easy to see because the purple skins are gone and the white insides are visible. Look! See teeth marks? The strangest thing is that it happens in the bright of day, sometime around noon. I don’t see it on my mid-morning stroll past the 400 BC burial ground. But, on my way home, I’ve seen mushroom after mushroom missing pieces. How they get that low I’ll never know, but they are ghosts. They must be extremely flexible without bones or spines. I’ve heard these purple ones are poisonous but, if you’re already dead, does it really matter? This nibbling is spreading. It extends down to the neighboring campground, where children play soccer and ride bicycles over a wide green lawn. I’ll bet the ghosts watch them while biting mushrooms. Maybe it helps them keep calm and recall the past, their brief time spent in the human world.

Dreams in Helsinki

5 pm, when the chef at the Memphis Grill breads his chicken-fried steak. Human

machines march for rails, rehearsing To Do Lists to the smells of meat, grease, and ozone

gusts from trains. Tethered dreams release like helium balloons from the souls of

workers. Look! See those reds, blues, and greens scaling concrete verticals? A yellow

hovers over Helsinki Cathedral. A few drift above the clouds, where winged demons pop

the wishes of the dying.

The Co-Author

I love scribbling in the books of poets. It sounds crazy, huh. But it makes me feel like I’m making a difference flooding empty pages and margins with streams of chicken scratch. Do they mind me sharing their sun? Doubt it. The majority now resides in cemeteries. Some are dust. I believe my lines are nearly as good, although a few beg for minor edits. The poets still blowing around this planet may peruse used books to read my contributions. Bet they rage with the fire of reading their first love note.


Kirby Wright's second play, Asylum Uncle, opened at the Secret Theatre's LIC Festival in New York on November 4th, 2016. His third play, Rag of Man, was performed at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre of February 22nd, 2017. Wright was the 2016 Artist in Residence at the Eckerö Mail and Customs House in the Åland Islands, Finland. He is completing a poetry and flash manuscript set in Helsinki and Stockholm.

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