Aspeciation

By Tom Rowe

I am the first of a new genus. I say to the insulating skin. I say to the motor of the feet. I say to the dent in the femur. I say to the alloys of the alleles. I say to the polished gleam of the bicep. I say to the rusting of the curtseying […]

Bothered

By Eve Perrins

I am very bothered when I remember all the terrible things I have heard. Especially when we are told the world is changing. If I am disgusted at the stories steeped in pain and left to brew in misery what do the victims feel? When their leggings/ skirts/ shorts are held under the weight of […]

More Than Organised Dust

By Olivia Todd

All women are more than organised dust. During those silent hours, my mind sailed. Put faith in the ones you know you can trust. My desire to learn was seen as lust. Eve set the world spinning for us — God failed. All women are more than organised dust. In Newington Green, I did what […]

On the Skagerrak Sea, with child

By Ellora Sutton

“It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy & sorrow, should only be organised dust … sometimes, when the sea was calm, I was amused by disturbing young star fish which floated just below the surface.” – Mary Wollstonecraft In the waves […]

Bones

By Rachel Bruce

“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming around its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Bones bones bones, Hanging from my lips are bones. Seeing bones, feeling bones, Hips, ribs and hidden bones, A ribbed cage. I wrap tinsel […]

Origins

By Jack Cooper

My reputation died with me, so what? Decay is a wonderful smith. Bury a body of flesh or work, its skeleton slips through the fervid rot, awaiting a curious eye. Take these bare bones, do you see? I was the first of our genus, the squat fish to your swallow; dragging myself to new ground, […]

To my baby

By Alice Broadbent

“It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Sweet girl, Don’t give too much, for people don’t always keep their promises, but love them anyway.

Ramadan, 2019

By Fathima Zahra

We stalk the moon all month round, lick  our lips, till the Adhan goes off on our phones, dig our teeth into the soft flesh of dates, wash it down with Roohafza, rinse and repeat. The  scholars paste their eyes to the sky, the crowds  trade their eyeballs for telescopes, watch the  moon turn bashful, […]

For Exile, or Chang’e Speaks from the Moon

By Natalie Linh Bolderston

Here, I am closer to the gaps in the sky where nine suns fell. I can touch the trails left by my husband’s arrows, where the night was almost unseamed. And Mother, I can look down at the clouds that drag like the hem of your dress. I can see the valley where you taught […]

Christmas Moon

By Max Dixon

The moon looking down at the carol singers. The moon looking down at carrots for the reindeer, wishing he could eat them.

Moon Watching

By Sophie Orman

I’m in my bedroom staring at the moon, wondering if I could ever visit him. From here, it looks like the moon is      dancing in the light, as my shadow creeps across it.

lunacy

By Ellora Sutton

laying in a bed of forget-me-nots and wild garlic all Ophelia       all bone and froth, you know, the way they paint girls             I saw a dolphin arc over the moon, that great voluptuous croak                         (I kid you not) and then I looked around and                         I was laying on the moon, and it […]

Wane

By Jack Cooper

The Earth held tight to what it had been given; those clear skies, that startling life. It held me to be a woman, gravity-bound. Wife with no husband, mother to the stars. A goring crescent. Sharp slice of lithium consuming itself. I was Selene and Sina, stray Chang’e, a goddess dissolving on the night’s tongue […]

Abe no Nakamaro’s moon

By Charlotte Chalkley

old Mount Mikasa under the unchanging glow waited, too – in vain nightly rose the cry: two shipwrecks and a war away lies my native land but the rabbit, hunched, pounding eternal rice cakes lends no ears to sorrow and so the poet immortalised by his longing lays his brush to rest.

“Oh you know how it is, women and their little phases…”

By Amy Wolstenholme

Still they say I am moon full, swollen with light and spilling over floorboards. Rippling with tides, roaring with dreams, ready to consume and ready to release,           bleached          white bones                          flung           to a bleached  white beach. Still they say I am moon stung, hymning […]

The Moon as Different Types of Food

By Nadia Lines

What about Cheerios, awash  in the milk of the night or the chalk dust of toast – imagine the stars swiped from the sky by a napkin.  A cereal bar, with rivers  of yogurt and chocolate  aliens of dried apple – I am decorated with wrappers like aeronautical debris.   My granddad told me the moon […]

My mother’s last mid-autumn festival in Saigon, 1977

By Natalie Linh Bolderston

A Golden Shovel after ‘On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous’ by Ocean Vuong You light candles for every ghost of your blood, bend to say your prayers, burn joss to mask the smell of surrender. You pile plastic fruit at the shrine and queue for rations. Remember to say cảm ơn, even in the eye of […]

Morning After

By Mathilda Armiger

A Golden Shovel after‘Party Piece’ by Brian Patten   let’s   forget it           how we cut flares like night steamers          the way we can clip and unclip   each other’s bright wires        worm our currents down to earth         our […]

Brown girls’ anthem

By Fathima Zahra

A Golden Shovel after ‘Call Me by Your Name’ by André Aciman We die so many deaths before we turn twenty. We, the schoolyard Kardashians. We sew our stories, rip them out as the schoolbus pulls up at our door. We out cast our vile tongues so the aunties won’t. Scrape it so they won’t […]

Hilly City Ode

By William Snelling

A Golden Shovel after ‘Fern Hill’ by Dylan Thomas Funny how the spring rain unscrews the time sending the clouds scattered ahead that had been held fixed like memory for months, nowhere for me to look; now branches drip overhead, fat and green droplets like crystal earrings glittering and singing on tarmac like there’s no […]

to bee, or not to bee

By Georgie West

A Golden Shovel after Shakespeare the garden yawns: it has just struck two o’clock. small creatures crawl, summer-drunk and muffled by heat. in the dirt, a bee tumbles over and over itself, belly showing, legs whirling dust. i excavate, scooping up an ore made of hot earth and gravel and grass and animal, a hysterical […]

quoting baudelaire and living in the eighties

By Katie Kirkpatrick

A Golden Shovel after Heathers christ, as soon as he turned seventeen he was swallowed up by it all. chaos coated him like a sugar glaze. dressing like the search results for ‘grunge’ on pinterest is popular with teen girls. apparently. a different one every Thursday. what lost me was the way he threw out […]

Time Traveller

By Ellora Sutton

A Golden Shovel after ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley They have built things, these wrists, my teeth and tongue, they howl my name I hear it in the downpour, the glass is rattled with it, a furious Ozymandias gale-force. I choke on the word king the wisteria forming my spinal cord isn’t of bending bowing […]

Bring

By Nadia Lines

A Golden Shovel after ‘Days’ by Philip Larkin For me, pain brings, among other things, the tissues of the priest pressed into my palm, and the silence surrounding the suggestion of seeing a doctor.

Daphne

By Ellora Sutton

I could not run so I took root, still as a housewife, stagnant. My eyelids went first. Desiccated to tracing paper to sandpaper. You, in your gleaming arrogance, you could never foresee this; that my arms would age to bark, my belly an empty whisky barrel. The feet that failed me trickling in sunlight, toes […]

One for Sorrow

By Lauren Aspery

We blame our bad days on opening umbrellas indoors, magpies and broken mirrors, walking past black cats on pavement cracks under ladders, killing spiders, spilling salt on the table next to new shoes in a size 13. Cold calls from numbers ending in 666 – throwing pennies, picking clovers, blowing candles out, wishing for something […]

A private man, public spaces

By Jack Cooper

Contains strong language A man will drown if held under by his own dead weight or a stranger’s hand, pushing him to the piss-slick tiles. There’s no safety in a closed door, but a man wouldn’t hope for more than he’s given – a body desperate for the air in another’s lungs – take his mouth, […]

Love is a Hairy Moth

By Hebe Fryer

Contains strong language. Love is a hairy moth: fickle and fleeting, Not the knight in shining armour I was promised, But a balding man who can’t stop eating, Just a turnip farmer shrouded in Wiltshire mist. Would it hurt to bring me roses rather that shallots? Or take me out to a fancy candle-lit dinner? […]

Mrs Mendeleev

By Emily Boyle

What’s the point of oxygen if we can’t share it? What’s the point of Hydrogen, if I can’t watch the sun set with you? What’s the point of ionic bonding if it’s stronger than our love?

Pearl River

By Dan Fitt-Palmer

a tiger can dissolve into mist – the river cannot abide unscathed prey. you want to span the whole thing with looming towers, yet i too slip between sounds, iron dagger at my hip. that sparkling dust that refuses your fingers like scattered rice grains in a bowl. the dull clink of your machine-struck coin; […]