Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon



Cursory Sorcery

While I wait for you. Late. Again.
I pick blue periwinkles to flower my stew,
a brew of spider’s legs and cobweb broth
to chase away the dusty moths that brave the lamp
then fall dead on our starched linen tablecloth.

Where were you tonight? You. Yes. You.
I don’t know. Should I shut my eyes to all you do?
I try to go steady, but my pulse thumps holes in my chest.
I walk round and round as rage jerks my arms up and down
and works waspy words, venom stung, in my witch’s tongue.

My pointy mind traps me, I imagine what only you can see.
I am poisoned by your X-ray eyes, quick to despise my brain
and the bumpy hummocks of my belly, stretched by three.
You call me witch and crone and, if you’re right,
I’ll cast a lethal spell and set us, all five, free.





Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives in Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published in on line magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017.

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Joe Carrick-Varty




It happens next summer when the car in front turns left
at the motel sign and a doe notices just in time
to blink and a man with a bag of beers looks
but doesn’t slow any.
Or tonight, when I wake
to your naked arm cold and too heavy
so my breath holds as I pretend not to feel, pretend
I didn’t catch its eye and, for a second
consider braking left
on a year I’m yet to live. It happens
on a bridge over a train track, a father back for a weekend, a son
propped on the railings
arms in a V, altogether unaware of the light’s red to amber,
the freight around the bend, its horn
an impact that will whoosh through him, keep him
quiet all the way home
up there on his father’s shoulders.





Joe Carrick-Varty is a writer based in Manchester whose work has appeared in Crannog Magazine, PN Review, and The Interpreter’s House amongst other places. In January 2018 he was named one of Eyewear’s 50 Best New British and Irish Poets.

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Graham Burchell


I Love Thinking about you Ducky
after Sketch of Hilda and Stanley, 1941

It’s animal, not just an old term of endearment.
He even draws himself as a farm bird,
pecking distance from her dog-face contentment:
a deity for his adoration.

And below, on that same paper lined for words,
he fashions himself piggish, her cow-like;
a meeting of flat-nose, fat-nose.
He licks at her pink lips,

never denigrates beasts of the field
or their ways of love. They all have souls,
so it bothers him to hear that a walk
was splendid because the walker didn’t see one,

as if blind to the eye to eye with sheep
and birds in a field, to the vitality
of trees (even naked ones) in woodland,
and deaf to all the songs that issue from them.



Graham Burchell lives in Devon and has four published collections. He was a 2013 Hawthornden Fellow, winner of the 2015 Stanza competition, runner up in the BBC Proms Poetry Competition 2016 and third prize winner in the 2017 Bridport Prize.
Note: This poem is just one from a collaborative collection by Rosie Jackson and Graham Burchell, based on the life and art of Stanley Spencer and his wife Hilda (nee Carline).

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Jeffrey Loffman



Bone Exile

The worst day – love becomes ugly,
rain hits horizontal in the eyes,
drains mumble and split in the silence
through frosted windows and wind chills
as trees bend on my obscure road,
roof slates crack and fall
and all shrinks to nothing.

There is a surreal feel to this fall
like a sudden acceleration down Losehill,
or like a fox flattened on the road
all blooded bone and matted fur,
no hint of heaven or after-life
what life within is left?

This numb ache of not belonging
while grey cumulus surrounds, empty
like a clown whose laughter is lost,
whose make-up drips, whose flesh leaks
alongside.  I am reduced to this bone
no longer home.



Jeffrey Loffman lives in a village outside Sandwich, Kent. After a childhood in London, he grew up in Yorkshire. His book, Breath-taking: A Geography was published last year. He is the poetry organiser for the Sandwich Arts Week and co-founder of the poetry group SoundLines.


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Stephen Grace




Pleistocene Cradle

Nothing to write home about, really,
these bundles of bark and reed
rocked back and forth
by the current in Bismarck’s

narrow corridor, mangrove and bamboo
stalks whittled down fine
by twenty-five
thousand years worth of trial

and error to this sketchy
outline of a raft as it stretches
out over the ocean,
a delicate film of taut skin.




Stephen Grace is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.  His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Honest Ulsterman, The Literateur, The Compass, and The High Window.

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Colin Pink




Relics’ Requiem

Behind glass, resting now, as after a long
journey, putting their feet up, the relics
are checked in to the cathedral treasury
like so many tourists in a mid-range hotel.

Formerly they were carted from place to place
like family heirlooms, by monks and priests,
stolen like silver or gold credit cards to heaven
by pilgrims, invaders and rival orders. What

is that absurd need to eff the ineffable that
drives us mad? Here it is: masquerading
as fragments of bone; vials of dried blood;
foreskins. How dreary they look shucked

from their shells: dirt under ancient finger
nails; the itchy aroma of dust; the shrivelled
skin of hope, dry and wrinkled as a face
whose beauty has been capsized by time.

The relics keep their secrets, snigger at our
confidence in the capacity of the intangible,
Laugh Out Loud at our longing for the
numinous to blunt the blade of the real.




Colin Pink writes poetry and lectures on the history of art. His poems have appeared previously in Ink Sweat & Tears and in other literary magazines such as Poetry News; The Shop; Poetry Salzburg Review; South Bank Poetry. Acrobats of Sound, a collection of his poetry, was published by Poetry Salzburg in 2016.


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Caleb Femi



Rose of Jericho

I am waiting for water;
do not blame my Father though he made me
a curling spine of dried roots.

In a home not built for foliage
he did his fatherly duty to pass on
only what is necessary to survive.

The night I thought I became a man
he handed me a drink of warning:
a closed hand holds no water.

Since then I have broken my skin
into soil good for worms,
good for willow trees.

Hardened my bones into a holding container
to become the bucket my grandmother
would put outside to collect rain.

I am a desert fist waiting for water;
do not blame my father.
He was not the stretch of coast

that held the first break of water,
my mother spilling into labour
as the nurses shout germinate, germinate!




Caleb Femi was the Young People’s Laureate for London (2016-2018) and is an English Literature teacher. Caleb is featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next generation shaping youth culture. He has been commissioned by the Tate Modern, The Royal Society for Literature, St Paul’s Cathedral, the BBC and the Guardian.  http://www.calebfemi.com/

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