Reprieve

By Amber Garma

when it’s light out, and there’s life in your legs again —- if there’s not yet, hack at ’em, let what heat’s left in your hands spark husks in your blood. have it remember. It hasn’t always been so hard for you, doesn’t have to be—- once dawn meets dust meets land in time with […]

Phantoms

By Annie Fan

I. moon rays fit the crumbling street, cut in jaggered dreams: the fixer’s jig begins at midnight, when he runs sexed and screaming through the graveyard. and here, a bowl, a tongue;                        my landlord drinks mindlessly,             spits on […]

Erasure

By Amy Wolstenholme

(i)        Kneel Sharp and edgeless, this submission. This sky, the shape of it hollow and wanting, Panting, as if all the light was simply a game, It had been night underneath, dark underneath, Poisoned, pounding underneath the skin all along. The pulse, the beat, the bone blades of the rain, The needle […]

who is giselle?

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

flailing november keels maple trees into fusilli shells. what do they let in? coughs of leaves on the bathroom sill. the drone of dragging wind skin to skin with the shower curtain, clawing at the floral pattern. it lies and lies and it wilts. giselle undresses before the floral pattern. skin oxford blue and shaky […]

Becoming Giselle: Poem in Two Acts

By Denisa Vítová

I. ‘Go crazy,’ he begs me, unfolds me – the arch, the heel, the tip of my foot; I’d crack if I could. plié, relevé One, two, three, four – I lost count of days, of years, ronde-des-jambs of how many times I had my heart muscle stretched too far. ‘Open up,’ he shouts, fouetté, […]

Who is Giselle?

By Josh Degenhardt

She isn’t alive doesn’t know how to dance the Tarantella, though she knows its principle – how skin beats on earth and venom seeps out does that sound too easy? sometimes it lasts for days “i’m out of skin now” Giselle knows the force it takes to sit up what a callus means when you […]

My War

By Amy Wolstenholme

My war can fit within the rotation of a minute hand. Between 6:59 and 7:00pm, news bulletins in Times New Roman, Another town with a name you cannot pronounce is known and lost simultaneously. You have time to glance up from your dinner, Look to your front door; check the outside is still locked out, […]

Barthelasse

By Elizabeth Gibson

Summer in Avignon makes the Rhône soupy and green. The ancient city stands over us; the broken bridge aches for its lost part, its other half, that led to the river island of Barthelasse. Did you know people used to sing and dance there, the bridge above them, and someone smart wrote a song about […]

Paradise Riflebird

By Bronwen Brenner

Soft moths mouth / across Eve’s dark chasm /albatross / abalone / black bakelite / wool coats / linen breath / no more chrysoberyl / green in polarized light / red in incandescent / my body is an experiment / he pretends not to hear me Grail of formaldehyde / jarred fetus / feed us […]

Mountain Bikers in the Trenches

By Jenny Burville-Riley

Heads down boys! Here they come again the bold army of young men in bright helmets coursing down our nettled lane to jump the training trenches we dug a wild lifetime ago where first we bore arms, played fight or die. They fly across our history carving it afresh with the sure spin of new […]

Trench Tea

By Ben Vince

You could almost imagine your grandmother, perching on the dirt bank shroud, knitting her way through the common afternoon, shooing away the petty ballistics of gossip. And in a brief twilight of shut-eyed silence, this stale foreign breeze is all windows akimbo, your house sighing into its London summer slumber, licking out curtains into the […]

Akhmatova in the Borscht

By Daniel Blokh

“What can you tell me about Anna Akhmatova?” I asked my mother as she peeled beets in the kitchen, the red bits falling from her fingers like petals. “She was popular when I was young,” she told me, hands fumbling with the knife. “I couldn’t read much of her before I left Russia because they […]

Pillar of Salt

By Tanya Kundu

Ripple of freezing white, welded feet Stucco bust Ash-strewn, fiery fingertips Heavy it strains against its seamless case. Glazed eyes, ducts Encrusted with saline diamonds see Lighted anarchy itself devour Sinful red mouthfuls. Softness of rain, me, soluble

My Mother(‘s) Tongue

By Denisa Vítová

My tongue is my mother’s tongue. My language is as sharp and thick as hers. I borrow her words, heat them up in the furnace of my mouth and turn them into heart-shaped shards of glass. My heart is my mother’s heart. I collect raindrops in buckets and tears from peeling onion skins in my […]

Hellenica

By Lorna Frankel

Sing, rhapsode, the poetry of ages, Where Homer stitched his verse to please Apollo, And Aphrodite heard the island harp and lines of lyric Sappho as she strummed. From southern undeciphered ancient Cretan And syllabic pictographic Linear B, To towering Attic temples and the harbours That launched a thousand ships for Helen’s face. The wars […]

Ó Éirinn

By John Blackmore

I remember her voice, soft as water, Precipitating down on coddled heaps, And armfuls of shawl, Permeating skin and blood and bone Where something still resonates within. There was music in her words, For they danced in jigs and reels On an English tongue that could recall Just enough to say her prayers. The stress […]

The Ghost of a Mouth

By Meg Roseman

Born of Love This base-born son Where dead men breathe And ears receive the Ghost of a mouth Still spoken Lineage unbroken What empire stands for a thousand years Yet bated breath still holds Rain our words as, Springs run to streams and Streams run to rivers. Tributaries of generations, Where mountains stand unbroken, Impassable monuments […]

British Sign Language

By Hannah Hodgson

My language has no birth certificate – a surprise for the history books. It was judged, classed as mime, ridiculed, a naughty child told to stop. My language is no pantomime – but a folk story, a recipe of generations. My language is silent, powerful a swan before attack.

Unified

By Aisha Siddique

Ek Pakistani, Aur ek Hindustani, Maybe to say, They were friends, Was gunah. Yet both, The Pakistani, And Hindustani, Flags raised together, Silenced the crowd.

Stairs

By Chris Matthews

Each sequence of creaks is the same. When I was light enough to scamper that sequence would slide through my chest – an adult approaching. My book would plunge to nothing, and only my little clenched hands reassure me of its existence. This evening as I climb to my room, weary, those same creaks sound, […]

The Palette of Love

By Francesca Weekes

You said you hated pink. Up until the age of nine and four months, pink – pretty, pearly, rosy pink – was utterly acceptable. But now you’re nine, nine and four months, and the only colour for you is blue, cool blue, like an ocean in your room. I wait a little, for you to […]

The lift, a green room for the wheelchair user

By Hannah Hodgson

The doors are scissor blades – sever us, give us space. We exhale in sighs, hot frustrated hand driers. Our eyes flash colour, marbles rolling around our sockets. These flickering lids speak louder than we could. We are sinking, quicksand drawing us through floors as we complain about the people bumbling down the stairs. The […]

pressing flowers between the pages of a biology textbook (30/07/16)

By Ella Standage

the heaviest you can find are often biology textbooks. five hundred pages, life science: how seeds nestle in the earth, siblings buried side by side. beneath my thistle-pricked thumb—the spine of a late-june rose, petals milk-soft where they spill out in spirals, unblemished as fresh paper. beneath the nervous tickle of my thumb—the spine of […]

A Candle

By Harry Parks

All flickers and All fluctuations stopped With a switch, so the doctor’s fingers shut your tissue eyes And there was death, like there was life Your hands, without a pulse, grew cold Searching for my blood, our momentary grasp was a harmony singing What I’ve now learnt was meant For deaf ears and other senses, […]

Hometown

By Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite

God bless you. I guess you are beautiful in your own crazy electric way, carved through the back of Africa, sandy roads kick up their dust in my eyes, whisper dreams formed of drumbeat Yoruba and desert wind. my footprints on this road seem lost to the melodies of wide-eyed children and You sound like […]

we play charades with shadows

By Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”                                         -Matthew 5:4 Let me play a game. With your mind, with the night. It doesn’t matter which. I cannot discern the two for the life of me – on days like this the moon is your eyes, my child, your cold skin, the blatant night, […]

Child

By Lorna Frankel

I was the type of child to pull the wings off butterflies: I threw stones at birds, Rubbed dirt in my sister’s hair, And left my mother in tears with my screaming. I was the type of child to snip the ends off little girls’ pigtails And ping rubber bands on other childrens’ arms. I […]

Tongue

By Ben Vince

The closest comparison I can make is to a tsunami: somewhere offshore, somewhere unknowable, the ground rips apart for miles; in come the waves, for miles; on a stretch of beach, for miles, the waterline draws back in on itself, as if winded, and rears its head forward to swamp the land-farers, to turn their […]

POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)

By Hannah Hodgson

You deserve gratitude for removing the dust of the last eighteen months. I should be thanking you, shaking your hand like a pendulum clock. But it hurts, this burn you’ve given me. You leave me running it under the tap, to deal with the scar and get to the part where I understand. It’s a […]

Curiosities

By Angelique Cridland

She held my hand, not too tight and not too soft as our feet scoffed through yesterday’s orange, still sultry and damp from the ether-curiousities drizzled down from high. Carressing these memories forsook by our footprints and our last goodbye. Spellbound ground impressions in the autumn forest floor, forever golden damned. Truth is, she never […]