The moon, too, yearns
to see beyond clouds,
we look for silver on prussian
she looks for blue and green,
both cursing the intervening
veils and blankets of cloud.
On cloudless nights, out of the sea
she rises orange, shrinking,
paling to a naval button,
making the sea shimmer, glass glitter,
a palette of cocktail fabrics
draped across sightlines.
Hand me down light,
from her pale flat face,
a blue-veined vanity
proud of the great cheese
that once fooled a fox,
the Moon in a bucket.
Vivien Jones’ first poetry collection – About Time, Too – was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in2010. In that year she also won the Poetry London Prize. She has completed a second short fiction collection on a theme of women amongst warriors – White Poppies (2012) – with the aid of a Creative Scotland Writer’s Bursary and has adapted two of the stories for theatre performance in 2013. Currently leading a creative writing project in the Environmental Arts Festival – TIDEMARK – new work focussed on the Solway shore at Powfoot. www.vivienjones.info
From Autism This Failure
to understand abstract concepts. Love
should teach me how to teach you. I can’t
find a point of entry into your world, locked
rooms of loud lights, bright sounds that hurt
and excite at the same mind-rocking pace.
Nuances must be memorized, categorized,
using a code no one can crack. I have
come close for the briefest fractions before
falling behind as shapes and boundaries
shift and take flight. I cannot
keep up, fall short, remain firmly rooted
in meanings that mean nothing to you.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her work has appeared in Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Blue Stem, and Rattle, as well as other online and print journals. She serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.Read More
Overwhelming Catastrophic Dread
Did I shut the door?
Did I shut the door?
I am the gatekeeper,
I avert apocalypse
fifty times a day.
Did I shut the door?
I divine strange dooms
in the pattern of dogs’ mess
on the pavement.
Did I shut the door?
I know a thousand subtle poisons –
shoelaces, dishcloths, newspapers, chopping boards,
the careless brush of strangers’ hands.
Jacobean in their cunning,
their venom is touchborne, airborne, thoughtborne.
They murder by metonymy.
I wield the potency of numbers:
the amulet of washing three times,
the blessing of counting light switches,
the depthless curse of finishing the sudoku on a nine.
Pandemonium hovers on my threshold.
Did I shut the door?
Melanie Branton was born in Exeter. She has taught English and Drama in London and in Lodz, Poland, but now lives in North Somerset. Her work has been accepted by South, Light and LightenUp Online.Read More
Bolivia Plays in the World Cup
I become myself that summer.
The summer of drinking api,
baking dulce de leche cakes with my sister
and playing football with my brother.
It is June and anything is possible.
My mamita makes us api and buñuelos
as Gilda plaits empanadas.
I ask my mum for my chapaca skirt,
wrap the Bolivian flag around my shoulders,
and wait for the match to begin.
Bolivia Leaves the World Cup
And because Mami cannot stop herself,
she joins us in our screams as we watch
Marco Etcheverry kick us out of the World Cup.
She shouts so much she nearly loses her voice.
Mamita burns the sopaipillas, Gilda spills wine
down her jeans and I swallow the knot of my feelings
as we watch in disbelief. Even my dad is swearing at our TV.
Katherine Lockton‘s poetry has been published in a number of journals such as Magma, The Dark Horse, Rising, Brittle Star, Northwords Now and The Delinquent. She can be found online at http://katherinelockton.wordpress.com/. She currently co-edits South Bank Poetry.Read More
The snow is terrible this year.
The road towards the library
takes longer than usual.
I keep the books home, waiting,
for the roads to clear up.
Buses drag by,
with chains on their wheels
leaving long monotonous marks.
Smell of raw pines and chimney smoke
brings your memory back
in the thin December air.
The train shrills past every day
slicing the air between the hill and my house.
Your memory touches like wind,
and halts, at that moment
when you left;
like one of those winter evenings.
The snow has been terrible this year.
The days longer without you.
Next year, I will wait,
when they clear the snow.
I will wait at that same station.
I feel you in each passing train.
Please tell me, when will you come?
I will watch from the hilltop
when your train comes
slowly, waltzing and whistling,
from the bends of summer hill.
Nabin Kumar Chhetri studies at the University of Oxford. He graduated with a degree of M.Litt in Novel from the University of Aberdeen. He blogs at nabinkchhetri.wordpress.com
The Snow was first published in Apple Valley Review
I play solitaire for hours, soothed
by the patterns of wooden balls.
This waiting is a perfect science.
I have everything I need
to measure the transition of my body
from one moment to the next.
If I could count how many
average breaths make up an hour,
plot blood pressure or temperature
like constellations to guide a ship,
I could gauge how long
I’ve been here, how long to go.
I can feel all thirty feet of mortar
pressing down on this Plexiglass cube
as I listen to the regular beat of blood,
the creaking and sighing as my body
goes about its business, each breath
like the rush and retreat of the waves.
The intercom on the wall is my oracle—
I wait beneath it on my knees, pray
for it to speak, tell me my time is up.
I think sometimes I’m mad
with the imperfect silence. I shout
and curse and beg, but no one comes.
Sue Rose is currently translating a fantasy novel series billed as the French Harry Potter. Her debut poetry collection, From the Dark Room, was published by Cinnamon Press (2011- http://www.cinnamonpress.com/from-the-dark-room/). A chapbook, Heart Archives, is forthcoming from Hercules Editions, and a second collection, The Cost of Keys, is due in 2014
I noticed the old man before he noticed me. He was sitting on the swing, looking up into the dusk, and the swing was moving gently.
‘Are you okay?’ I asked and he looked at me, turned his wrinkles into a smile and nodded. ‘What are you doing?’ I said.
‘Swinging,’ he replied.
‘Yes, ‘ I said, and this time it was me who nodded, and I sat on the swing next to his.
‘I used to love spaces like this when I was little,’ he said. ‘I used to spend hours in the Memorial Gardens while Dad rebuilt our house. It was after the war.’
‘I like them too,’ I said, though I was much closer to my childhood than he was to his.
‘My children loved them too.’ He pointed to his right. ‘My wife taught Julia how to make daisy chains over there. It was all grass then. And I taught her how to ride her bike there.’ He pointed again. ‘There were no cars back then. But the swings, they were always right here. They used to be painted green.’
His shoes, Velcro-fastening and dusty, pushed against the ground, scuffing it, and he swung higher.
‘Julia worked in the media,’ he told me. ‘And we’d babysit for her. We took them out all over, but they liked it here best. It’s a simple place.’
He swung higher then, feet pushed out in front of him going forwards, and then tucked under the seat as he went back. When he swooshed his cardigan was a cape.
‘That sounds lovely,’ I said, and then, ‘Where are they now?’
He swung higher, and then higher again. The frame quivered and the chains clanged under his weight.
‘Wife’s gone,’ he said, feet forward, cardigan billowing. ‘Cancer.’ Feet back, tucked. ‘Of the bowel.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ I told him, and I was.
‘These things happen,’ he said, swooshing, the frame straining, still. ‘Julia moved abroad. Her husband got work there. Good money.’ He allowed his legs to dangle then, and as his momentum stuttered the frame seemed to sigh, seemed to relax. ‘The grandchildren are all grown up now too.’ He slowed, and his shoes scuffed the earth. ‘I still see them, sometimes. Christmas. Birthdays. If they’re in town to see friends. ‘ He grinned. ‘I still give them chocolate when they call. There’s a drawer in the kitchen full of it. My wife’s idea. Couldn’t give it up.’
He stopped then and I noticed how quiet the night was.
‘You know,’ he said, ‘sometimes, I prefer the memories.’
‘I know what you mean,’ I told him.
He looked down at his shoes. ‘I come here to remember,’ he said. ‘Before I forget.’
‘I know,’ I said again, and I sighed, and he looked at me then and think he might have been crying.
‘And you?’ he said.
‘Me?’ I replied.
‘Yes, you,’ he said, and for long moments I said nothing. There was nothing to say.
So the old man stood and he turned to me.
‘Would you like a push?’ he asked.
And I told him, ‘Yes.’ Said, ‘Yes, I’d like that a lot.’
Nik Perring‘s stories have been published in many fine places both in the UK and abroad, in print and online. Nik’s the author of the collection Not So Perfect (Roast Books, 2010) and the co-author of Freaks! (The Friday Project/HarperCollins, 2012). This is his website. And you can find him on Twitter @nikperring