The Butcher’s Wife
His hands are white as a princess’s,
or milk, so the network of veins
shows through as clear as a blueprint.
They are cold, like the petals of lilies,
marble-cool. The nails are kept short.
He uses a brutal brush
to scour under them. Then he files
them smooth as shells. They are pink
like sweeties, like fondant, like blushing brides.
In the evenings, I sit on the sofa, try not to watch
those hands constructing exquisite butterflies
from origami paper, one after another.
Their movements are as intricate
as ballet, caress the paper, gentle as a lover.
Each fold precise, in its own way, as surgery.
At night, those hands are on me.
They smell like blood, a rusty vehemence
infecting the heat of the bedroom.
I dream of skeins of bunnies, the sides
of cows, the skin peeled off,
those hands parting my ribs.
Kitty Coles has been writing since she was a child but only submitting her work for publication in the last few years. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework and South. Website: www.kittyrcoles.comRead More
To be a lyre bird, dove…or pigeon:
strong-clawed and sleek-feathered.
To write songs of flight in italics
against grey skies, and dig out
the worms that dirt hides. To carry dawn
home in my silky down, spread light
across fields and town, then balance
stillness in the winter’s stark trees.
To know heights higher than the highest
branch, grip the hardest edge of ice
and graze the skins of frozen lakes.
To see small breaths slowly melt
even landlocked limbs. For his touch
to ruffle my night face now, softly
as a snowy owl, with the dark eyes
of a falcon: fierce, starless and deep
enough to drown my fears.
Sarah James is a poet, fiction writer and journalist. A narrative in poems, The Magnetic Diaries, is published by KFS and a collection, plenty-fish, with Nine Arches Press this summer. Her début collection, Into the Yell, won third prize in the multi-genre International Rubery Book Awards 2011. www.sarah-james.co.uk
First published in The Magnetic Diaries, Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2015Read More
The lawn is overgrown,
grass sprouts like unruly hair,
the flowerbed bare
where a patient trowel turned the soil
like little gravestones
mark the spot where come spring
green shoots will rise out of earth
from inert bulbs buried there.
Scraps of shrubs.
perching precariously on spiked stilts
petals of vermilion velvet.
Paint peeling from eaves
recovering from sunburn of summer,
and something emerging through the doorway
between two men.
I remove my cap.
Blackbirds lift from a tree, sound
an ironic round of applause.
James R Kilner‘s first collection of poems, Frequencies of Light, is out now. He is a former newspaper journalist and holds a PhD from the University of Leeds. Originally from Yorkshire, he now lives on Tyneside. Please visit www.jameskilnerwriter.wordpress.com.
Not Because It’s Chic
Here I have a place
where I can be sad.
I adore it. I adore it.
I exist only in roles.
I want colors! Colors!
Just as above me the sky is always blue.
Not because it’s chic. Not because of that.
Kinga Fabó is a published Hungarian poet (linguist, essayist). Her bilingual (Indonesian-English) poetry book Poison has just come out. She has an essay on Sylvia Plath as well. Website: www.hlo.hu/news/poems_by_kinga_fabo
Note: Translated by Michael Castro and Gábor G. GyukicsRead More
Oaks rumble in deep bass
that thrums straight down
their roots, draws from the earth.
Hornbeams belt out Sixties pop songs,
twist and shout. Willow divas wail
soprano dramas in a minor key.
In the blades of grass, whispers coil. Spirals whisper
when the south winds sigh, ruffle and caress
the soft green hair of graves.
Susan Castillo Street is a Louisiana expatriate and academic who lives in the Sussex countryside. She is Harriet Beecher Stowe Professor Emeritus, King’s College, University of London, and has published a book of poems titled The Candlewoman’s Trade (Diehard Press, 2003). Her second collection, Abiding Chemistry, is published by Aldrich Press and was reviewed on IS&T on 1st July. Her poems have appeared in The Missing Slate, The Stare’s Nest, Nutshells and Nuggets, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Snakeskin, Literature Today, York Mix), She is a member of three poetry groups, The Conduit Street Poets (London), 52, and Slant 2015.Read More
I’m not looking for perfection
I don’t really want it
It is essence I seek, wholeness
with blunders and errors
and the unexpected surprise.
The hand that shakes
when you unwittingly are being the hero.
From small talk and blabber
to the sublime
I treasure your humanity
It must have room to breathe.
The calluses on your hands
the mud on your boots
the cut under your lip
the leaning shoulder
the hesitation in your voice,
they are a book we can all read.
But don’t be timid
nor aggressive, nor complacent.
You speak more clearly
when you body is in motion.
It is then that your portrait is complete.
Jay Frankston was raised in Paris, France. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust he came to the U.S. in 1942, became a lawyer and practiced on his own in New York for nearly twenty years, reaching the top of his profession, sculpting and writing at the same time. He is the author of several books and of a true tale entitled A Christmas Story which was published in New York, condensed in Reader’s Digest, translated into 15 languages. El Sereno, his latest novel.Read More
Sometimes in the car I forget to breathe,
almost. Respiration reduces to
tiny transactions reluctant to leave
any trace. Warm skin and car seat a new
union, matter overcoming mind,
the windscreen a cornea to see through,
the heartbeat of wipers. I am confined
until a sickening jolt of preservation,
a shriek of tyres. Less than seconds defined
by red lights focussed, the dislocation
of time, and a density of fears
like a stone, but with the termination
of burnt rubber on tarmac, it appears
there are only white lines stretching on for years.
Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in Poetry News, Prole, 14, Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and The North among others. She has also had poems in 2 anthologies. She works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden.Read More