Southgrove Road Carol Singing

By Beth Davies

My childhood blurs in yellow light and cinnamon air, the year irrelevant. A single Gloria holds all my Christmas Eves: nights when we breathe dragon-smoke, clutch rain-crinkled paper and sing to our streets, two tunes at once and all out of time. This is the closest I come to faith; out-of-tune voices make the lyrics […]

Eve

By Anna Farley

How can a year open on a blank page? “Write here.” Write that the sky splits open like a crypt For the rain to fall in. And half-starved birds come tumbling From the sky onto the bones of trees. Who could doubt the myth Of spontaneous generation? That maggots might spring Fully-formed From the carcass […]

At the ending

By Emily Ingle

we tread our river-ice skulls crown to temple in ink-black leather boots, steel-toed careful – these are still our most fluid bones, paper-thin; beneath we are all running water, sleeping fish and unlined pages, crinkled tissue lobes. Make fresh footprints, but imagine softly. Here at the ending there is no upstream, downstream of left-to-right, paragraphs, […]

Window Light

By Emily Breeds

Spine curving like a snow-heavy branch, each vertebra interlocking with the cold wall’s stone, feeling numb cement fingers along his back through ten years of worn cloth. He is invisible, a grey brick chameleon with severed vocal cords. He sees life’s soft glow framed with silver and he remembers. He remembers his wedding. It was […]

the wasp graveyard

By Ella Standage

january and we sleep under bruise-light / and the wasps smuggle themselves between the panes of my double glazing and die. i’ve spent the new year living honeycombed which means my thoughts are turning geometric—/ /—which means i want to hold very still and fill with honey or some other reminder of summer. or to […]

Snowed in

By Ben Vince

Everything shut down and dead for the day; even my own cosy abandonment is worried it will catch a fever, break out into a delirious sweat and burn the house to meltwater. Nothing but the nothing of white outside; I watch the news expecting yet more stark death, knowing only the warm ones will go, […]

Thinning ice

By Josiah Mortimer

It’s snowing in the Sahara. I saw the pictures – of white-capped dunes beside camel and cactus, the white on orange of Martian blizzard the extraordinary is becoming so familiar as to stare unphased at newspapers’ wry words of white Christmasses in North Africa and wet winters on English plains And the cherry blossoms are […]

Ice-cream Men

By James Wijesinghe

The singing bees, Allured by beds Ablaze with kaleidoscopes Of sweet peas, marigolds, foxgloves and sunflowers, Bathe in the syrups Until their furs are soaked and fat. Then that lullaby, The warble of the ice-cream man, Pipes through melting streets. His van charms flocks Bleating for lollies, cones with flakes, Rainbow sprinkles and doubles with […]

The Fire’s Coming!

By Rosie Levene

Get the diary, bury the cheese, Oh no! I can’t leave these! My frizziest wigs, a couple of pens, Some speckled eggs from my neighbour’s hens. The fire’s coming, Big and bright, I’ve got to leave; I must tonight! A few last words on the diary’s page: ‘How soon the fyre cometh art hard to […]

Great Fire

By Emma White

i impose. this ancient dance is one acted to drums reflective of heartbeats, the sound of thumps on cobbles, screaming horses in the night. i lie in the hands of those who spun sugar to smoke; from the tips of my teeth let pour sweet scorchings. like Midas, i breed tragedies with each golden lick […]

Dust thou art

By Hetty Mosforth

I sleep in dust heaping it over myself by the handful. In the fire I forgot In fear I forgot who I was and what. All that is left is dust. A crow-black, cassock-clad man Stands squawking at passersby, “For dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” He waves a cross over the […]

Fire

By Amelia Doherty

I will see the lies and sins and burn them, Kiss the beams of wooden dreams, Blaze upon the cowering curtains of your very soul. I climb upon your oak wood foundation, Burn along your bedsheets. You can not sleep here. I will bring about the destruction just like prophecies of olden times Predicted. I […]

Revenge of the Flame

By William Thomas

Flames lick everything in reach of its wrath Spitefully spitting sparks as it engulfs A red carpet that flickers Dangerously enchanting A blazing lion, awake and alive It will not sleep Smoke wafts up reaching out to heaven But to heaven they will not go Whilst down on the earth Its brother is catching prey […]

An Evening in London

By Jamie Hancock

Picture in your mind a Jacobean street – There! See it in all its stooped wooden-slant glory, Quivering with smoke in the evening air – Its newly restored constitution breathing out from every beam, Buzzing with the heartbeats of a thousand busy souls. We pan over The slope-rooved frames, slowly inching forward to take in […]

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 Jay 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 […]