Observations close to home

By Anya Trofimova

after ‘From Sea 1890’ by Alisha Yi Observe: 700,000 young people take to the streets in a global strike, the young are spilling into the squares like a contagion, the young are tearing this city up with their vegetarian teeth. at dinner my mother surfaces like a body from a lake, skirt hoisted to her […]

Translations in Survival

By Jewel Cao

I became a boat, became             closed scope, became static.  Does the water not move, still, in waves?  I became a road, became             oil and bone, became static.  Do the cherry blossoms not spill, still, like a watermelon cracked  open with a mallet? I became a home, became             soap and lye, became static.  […]

Are Your Words Empty, Or Am I Hollow?

By Alice Brooker

You needn’t worry Mother places her mantra in the palm Of my hand and presses reassurance. Then she lets go. Her words slip through my fingers like Water. And I can’t be wasting water. Temperatures surge to 25°C It is April and we’re burning. Run inside and switch the lights Out, plugs off, silence. They […]

Not All Warmth Consoles

By SZ Shao

to tread tenderly and still feel the whole earth creak and crave wilderness but leave tracks binding the terrain to fear the summer, the sweetness of fruit in decay and yet to see mushrooms flourish madly in spite of you to let every grief make a garden of you and to bloom and bloom and […]

Bees

By Danann Kilburn

The sun rises; there is no rain. I  look out at this gazed upon world, And I am counting the bees again. Do spiders return to the window pane As they should after so many moons? The sun rises; there is no rain. I find no relief in the quiet old lane Where I would […]

Earth (you are here)

By Jack Cooper

after morn1415’s YouTube video ‘Star Size Comparison 1 (HD)’ The Sun swallows Earth in 7.5 billion years and life is 3.5 billion years old, which – relatively speaking – means both myself and all life on Earth is at a quarter life crisis. Katy Perry was right: I feel like a plastic bag drifting through […]

You Call it Eco-Trauma

By Mia Nelson

Wendell Berry called it the “Peace of Wild Things” but the milk boy called it the curdled edges of his skating pond and the priest in his red house called it this too shall pass, and the black geese called it a generational flailing, and my lover called it a summer storm but really it […]

Grace or Trial

By Ellora Sutton

after ‘Quiet People’ by Moniza Alvi His wife and I are peaceful people but that does not say it is rare. We swing thunderstorms between us, split budding fruit from budding branches, share lipsticks like domino masks. She is quietly excited, a great composer in full swell, full crescendo or blooming. We have our signs […]

Tides

By Maggie Wang

after ‘Moon’ by David Constantine We defeated the sea. Heavy rain and gusts of wind brought widespread flooding, Lifted our palms to meet the droplets. In yours landed a quiet fever, shivering. It spoke of moonlight, Trees toppling, buildings damaged, rivers bursting their banks. “In your last night, we will replace the sun.” Keep talking, […]

Madame

By Alex Howe

after ‘Fingernails’ by Ruth Fainlight I often see an elderly woman in my Paris neighbourhood waltzing down the street to her own imagined music, flashing a slightly demented smile at everyone she passes. When she was really old, desensitised by age and time, she never cut her nails. Instead, she let them grow until they […]

(Just Not) Cricket at Les Névons

By Jamie Baty

after ‘Youth at Les Névons’ by René Char (tr. Michael Worton) Buzzzzzzzzzzzz pause buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz In the fields by Les Névons the sea and the sound of the crickets are a conversation you are interrupting. In the fields by Les Névons encircling the grounds of the park a fast-moving sea and a thousand crickets are breaking […]

Planks

By Olivia Shaw

after ‘Scaffolding’ by Imtiaz Dharker A house if I were Like this shored up Ancient scaffolding with Bars for the threat of windows And damp doors of roof tins Take time then would you Face into my walk From move to room to room And find the space quiet I begin where? Would you be […]

Found

By Jessie Taussig

after ‘Missing’ by Moniza Alvi When I disappeared, It was pale, clean, grey, Like the first morning of January. Waking up to a new year with no name And no me and no you. Tried on a dozen lives, and realised none of them fit. Not orphan, child, wife, ex-wife, Nor astronaut. Tried to squeeze […]

Taken For Granted By Everyone

By Benjamin Whittaker

after ‘Lost Weekend’ by Helen Ivory You lost a whole piece of wheat from that husband. Toast became forever and then no toast at all, at about eight o’clock on frost, like something stopped. The sunscreen shone through the noise and the blade of the sun sang so loudly, it was impossible to sleep. On […]

Paradisiac Snow

By Jonathan Huish

after ‘Tyranny of the Spectrum’ by Elizabeth Garrett For scissor-shattered rainbows take ONE capsule in laughter THREE times a day for THREE days. It is a grey occasion to drink the rainbow. Ignore side effects and the seven certainties. Carefully read all of this bland, transparent leaflet before you start. Take this whiteness. The window’s […]

Moon

By Jack Cooper

I want the sun to spit at me like hot oil              but there she sits      clot              of cream   bleached orange                          full and sweet and selfish. She won’t wane   […]

Deaf

By Hannah Hodgson

              She turns away, her lips untranslatable.   arga et         ay      effan       i         reg nan       a  arr  t         ts     a      oi Margaret    says     Bethany    is      pregnant  […]

An Acre of Grief

By Amy McGinn

after Elizabeth Garrett oh how good i am at leaving     the lights on             at watching the flies buzz around a dead thing                how quiet i must be       to let him stay hidden in the garden like this      […]

Magdalene Mothers

By Jamie Smith

this is where           the fallen women           sleep. concrete floor            for the too fair too                  pregnant               too violated. be          fruitful but not with them          and not yet. in the image of         god, girls, says the priest        with the wandering gaze to nuns       who nod like sheep to the children        who were only half here anyway. who  […]

appointment

By Ellora Sutton

  this is not a séance  my hands aren’t touching any hard surface I sleep in a closed red flower  same as my mother                   she   planted a rose a few weeks  before             this whole thing is like what they say about plastic bottles  you know   each time […]

Autumn, 2019

By Tom Rowe

                                               A girl becomes     a boy    becomes                       Tiresias blind               to it all,   […]

ill fate

By Elinor Clark

the seven suffocated  one by one             i saw it in the paper  their faces washed in black and white             we sat around the well-scrubbed table  thanking gods             you were in bed that day illness synchronised with       fate             as if you’d read the future in  coal dust gloved hands             found prophesy in Yorkshire […]

The Poem in the Locket

By Natalie Perman

After ‘The Photo in the Locket (For Louise)’ by Jackie Kay i There are things I don’t tell her private things, words eaten in sleeping bookshelves, a waitress watering plastic flowers. My new friends speak fast write less often; they come over and strip the sheets, leave the house bare. We smile and eat alone […]

Predatory

By Jewel Cao

Don’t mistake this for seduction. When I make bedroom eyes at the mirror, I am only trying to see what the hare’s pupil looks like, widening like the handspan of the universe, only one arterial spray away from the wolf’s blushing jaws. I intend to prepare myself for violence. Originally, I wanted to discover a […]

When the writer visited

By Jamie Baty

Again a memorial hour is near – Anna Akhmatova When the writer visited, blown through my door like a newspaper we drank champagne until white night slipped into morning while the Fontanka watched us like a fisheye, dead and gleaming, and the tree leaned in and tapped at the window. He left, leaving a glove […]

I fall in love about seven times a day

By Dale Booton

if falling in love means wanting to leave a part of yourself inside another    like a memento for them to look back on once we have moved on to the next    for them to cherish the way I have cherished them    in that small moment of my life    now a distant memory at the forefront […]