Vicky Morris





It’s not like he’d planned to wake up
after 23 years of marriage,
to find the taps turned off,
everything dried out on the draining board,
no one checking the mains,
bulb gone in the hall,
the garden too barbered for its own good.

He laced up his quietest loafers,
grabbed some socks from the top drawer,
slid his passport from a copy of Punch,
loaded his toolboxes into the car.
While she stared at the TV she’d never watched before.
It’s plug without a fuse,
remote control in the drawer.

Vicky Morris writes poetry and short stories. She runs groups and projects for young writers. In 2013 she made the documentary – Dyslexic & Loving Words and in 2014 she won the Northern Writers Arvon Award.  Website:

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Brian Johnstone



What to do? You sign it,
as they all do, sign it in your childish hand,
descenders and ascenders imperfectly described,

a name, its capitals, its lower case
presented in the ink that’s drying even
as you gaze at it, drying as you think yourself

committed, pledge what future
you are able to conceive of to an absence,
disavowal (though you do not know these words)

and cannot see beyond the demon
conjured up before your eyes, you wish
in all your being to avoid. You will. You swear to it

right here. But cannot know
what liquor in a glass is waiting on a table,
what bottle, sweating in the heat of some back room,

has the word upon its label
that will draw you in, make a mockery
of this, its scrolls and curlicues, the fake solemnity

induced by those who should
know better, playing on a child’s mind,
its addiction only to a vow, a campaign, to a faith.



Brian Johnstone’s latest collection is Dry Stone Work (Arc, 2014). His work has appeared throughout Scotland and in the UK, America and Europe. He is a co-founder of StAnza: Scotland’s International Poetry Festival and was Festival Director from 2001-2010. His  poems appear on The Poetry Archive.



Note:  this poem first published in Antiphon

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Phil Wood



Cardigan Bay

As a boy I wondered
about the jigsaw
strewn across the sand.
The parts are taken
by the waves, dad said.
Salted and cleaned.
I pictured the crab –
pink, hard and quick
to anger, attacking
with a snapping claw.
This flat, wet beach
was a world to hunt.
It scurried sideways
with eyes on stalks
for watchfulness.
It was an ancient alien.
Will it be made
whole again?
I asked.



Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. His poems can be found in various publications including: Clear Poetry, The Lampeter Review, The Black Sheep Journal, Dactyl Zine, and London Grip.

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Susie Wild




In case

of fire
exit building
before tweeting
about it.
Do not stay statue-still
with conducting hands
those fidget thumbs
whilst up the stairs
the accounts team
are inhaling smoke
for the first
(and last) time.
Please scroll down
the stairwell and click ‘exit.’
Assemble yourself.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Now look at this
picture of a girl with a clown
and remember what it means
for a channel to be
off air.




Susie Wild is the author of The Art of Contraception. She’s performed her words in dives and dance halls since 2006 (Green Man, Dinefwr, Glastonbury, Hay, The Laugharne Weekend etc) and been published on websites, in anthologies, magazines and even on cake. She lives in Cardiff and is Publishing Editor at Parthian Books. Twitter: @soozerama  Blog:  Amazon Author Page:

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Carrie Etter



The Find

At the garage sale I smiled when I saw Emily Dickinson’s selected poems. Didn’t I have this edition at home? Inside it read: To Marie. Friends forever. Love, Alice.

I was Alice—that was my handwriting. Was the woman in the lawn chair, watching over the sale, Marie? I tried imagining the middle-aged woman without the crow’s feet, without the gray hairs, and thought I could discern my high school friend. Why had we stopped talking? What would I say?

I took the book to the woman and handed over a dollar. “Poetry, eh?” the woman remarked. “Never was my thing.”






This short is taken from Carrie Etter’s first pamphlet of short fiction, Hometown,  which is out now from V. Press  : She has published other stories in Flash, New Welsh Review, The Nottingham Review, and other journals, and she keeps a blog devoted to flash fiction and prose poetry at

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Helen Calcutt




Lamp in paperfields
and in the sky, a compression of long halls.

Do you know how sudden you are
how sad? Sadness being air
or soft fly of a thing
over dark houses.

The sad dying voice of the bird
is my dying voice

We are the poem – Look
our heads, tongues
drag with the old clock.

This is how it has to be.
The shadows dancing on the eaves
know our trick

of being one thing

when you lower the lamp
of your voice
my mouth rises to its light,
I dilate under your finger-tones,

if you fall the moon will step down
and hold you close.




Helen Calcutt is an English poet choreographer and dance artist. Associated with the traditions of European verse, her work has received global publication, featuring in journals such as Equinox , The London Magazine, The Salzburg Review, Poetry Scotland, and The New Yorker. She is founder of radical contemporary project écriture corporelle  – a ‘bodily writing’ which launched at the internationally acclaimed Poetry International Festival in July 2014. The project is set to tour extensively across the UK in 2015. She is the author of  Sudden rainfall her first collection of poetry, published by experimental English publishing house Perdika Press.



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