Cartoon

By Elsie Hayward

after Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing ‘The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist’, kept in the dark room at the National Gallery This love is kept in the dark. You only visit it, through curtain Of hush and black, you step Into a different colour of time. There is no eye […]

Bride of a Beast

By Anne Kwok

after Odd Nerdrum’s painting ‘Running Bride’ Bride of a beast, silent, tyrant woman caged out of her own poem. I’ve been cradling a wet rag to his feet when I could be dressed in nothing but a summer mist. Where is that girl gutting a bear to wear its hide as a bride, chopping fur […]

the lake is enough to blind you

By Emma Miao

after Bob Ross’s painting ‘Winter Mountain Lake’ It is an old story. Girls, perched on banks, shedding masks onto the moonlit pebbles. They are giggling, brushing white flecks off their noses. The myth tells them to drag fingers into the lake, lick the ripple, splash dirty off their mishaven legs. Mother warned of wolves nuzzling […]

hangul abecedarian

By Esther Kim

after Franny Choi and Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball Series get up—as in the world goes on, as in you cannot not spin until you collapse into the couch next to you. do you know why you can move in a moving world? listen. you don’t hear the gentle whir of an axis, mounted on a […]

Pink Dress Pastoral

By Charlotte Hughes

after Andrew Wyeth’s painting ‘Christina’s World’ 1 When there was such a thing as country I stood in a tobacco field and felt I was drowning 2 Now I can buy a muslin pink prairie dress online. If I don’t have enough money the website says I could cut my hair with an electric razor […]

Acquainting an Orange

By Anna Westwig

after Edward E. Simmons’s painting ‘Old Woman Peeling an Orange’ The art of peeling an orange gets harder each passing season. Still, her thumbnail presses under the rind like it’s an envelope, a love note from long-gone seasons, ones where the shadows bleed out at noon, and the rain is delicate as a chandelier. It […]

Shibboleth

By Jewel Cao

after Doris Salcedo’s photograph ‘Shibboleth I’ Tell me, do I pass this test? All day I have studied the ways things break apart – the shapes of the spaces they leave behind. It is not unusual, to want to know how two halves of a peach pull away from pit, how scalpels propagate brief stories […]

Body in Exile

By Annie Davison

after Mira Dancy’s painting ‘Blue Exile’        Mid March I give up my lungs.   Here are the seedy airways that have shrunk              in my chest; here                                      is a bruised […]

Inheritors

By Anna Szabó

The speakers are all liars, sweating red sunset, orange sunrise vibrates the TV at dinner, the conversation doesn’t start again, in the static silence a crackling of throats, after twenty-five years the clock halts, clattered forks, hands well-washed, plastered over, hollow words richochet off walls, snarling family, poster smile, “theresalwaysgoodinbad”, the rattling cars at five, […]

M

By Dale Booton

you waded through my dreams again last night    drew yourself along the current of the partitioned streets I had shuffled down in my youth    beside a girl a few days older than me    and bargained for my time    said that you had swept along our earlier days    the chiselled jaw line hook and sinker    the […]

Letters

By Evelyn Byrne

We cram our lives into tight spaces, love dried and pressed beneath all the books you’ve ever lent me. My postcard heart flutters as I tie and untie knots to your quivering breath. Origami sweet wrappers, the closest thing to skin, stamps like fingertips. Here, let me give you my kneecaps, pin them up on […]

Suburbia in Isolation

By Yejin Suh

Around the corner from Rock Rd to South Maple I’m watching a drive-thru birthday, cars in procession, squared-off in gift paper, a great parade. I string along, dragging my dog to the fence, yipping, yanking, to give her a little privacy—our local drugstore is taping an X underneath my feet so I back up only […]

What I wish I could say during this pandemic

By Hannah Hodgson

I want to tell you I believe I’ll survive this. That I haven’t been updating my will or receiving texts from the government as a ‘high risk person’. That dad isn’t a firefighter. That six of his colleagues haven’t contracted the C word and are off work. That he doesn’t lie in bed pre-empting my […]

Explaining Animal Crossing to my Nan

By Ellora Sutton

Look, see? It lets me hang out with Kevin in America and Lydon in China and Hayley in the next room. I can give them things – cherries, or campfires, or a lamp I made out of two giant clam shells and a lump of clay. This pastel pink koala is my best friend. She […]

Birds Bathing Under a Drainpipe

By Jayant Kashyap

Content warning: sexual assault, violence             for Naureen Bhat Elspeth edifies Edith’s wish; walks with her every door that smells of dead elks; questions the government; kisses raped women; questions the government; takes a shower; thinks of Emily’s emails; sends six texts – to say hello; say sorry; say the police beat two men because […]

shopping list as a sign of tenderness

By Eunice Kim

candy mints kitchen knife singing hallelujah darling, if it’s between me & the sickness i will always choose                                        the sickness bathroom mirror during golden hour black-eyed syringe a full visible spectrum of light summer divorcing my throat & sternum                         both, this blueshift -jawbone an old house piano keys in my head […]

On wheels

By Delphine Ruaro

I had never ridden a bike in the city before now the wheels are the only shapes I can safely hold I use them to remind myself of the day of the month I stroll through the empty streets and notice what cannot be seen – salted tears, hands shaken, the figures with no face […]

Outline

By Alexa Stevens

There is a sharp sleek outline on the hallway wall, Pretending to be a metaphor. Graphite lines chase their way up the outline, Pausing and dipping for moments in time. Many have inhabited the metaphor, Many more will. The lines flow Up, and are broken at the top. There, the lines flatten themselves into Measurements, […]

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 […]