Leyli Salayeva




One does not need…

Smell of this city with the hints of bubble perfume
Damp morning and the freshly squeezed T-shirt
Orange headphones shielding you from the outer world
And your gaze, your steady gaze into the nothingness of the river.

I brought you a cup of hot chocolate, your favorite signature one
Please talk to me and re-assure that this is just a stupid row
We don’t need to refer to our past, what’s done is done
Let’s amend our present to make the weather fine.

I’m becoming numb because of your weak reaction
I understand your desire to run away from the unfairness of this world
Don’t make hot chocolate feel worthless too
Take a gulp and finish the glass until empty.

See, even squirrels stare at us in bewilderment
We are alive; our souls are in motion. What’s more to ask?
Give me your blue hands, I’ll swirl you in the air like a child
You are my beautiful person, never (you hear me!), never close up.

One doesn’t need to reach Tibet to join in sweet union with silence…



Leyli Salayeva was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. Her first poetry book Twelve Thirteen was released in 2014. She is also the author of the book for kids Dilber and her spoonful journey. She uses her poems as a medium for expressing beliefs and sharing emotional experiences.
Connect to Leyli Salayeva on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeyliSal

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Alison Graham

A beginner’s guide to glassmaking

Palms of my hands, I cast my lens

in them,             my concave – being             magnified.

Crux and                              frizz: spin of keratin.

and on concrete chip the teeth and             swallow

of volition, and I spit             and I am

decent as the pines

over city needling with pinprick lives

and how the pistol fires                         unloaded      with a

cutpaper sound

the                 atavist                        boom of birds startled

scattering.                I get                        the heart-swell

of postcards mouth to ribs. The glacier is vicious:

the weight of it, the striations.            I am made

and undone, always,                                  a blockade of veins:

how they churn –                                           the height of it.

I shake open-handed                                to never meeting again,

and I saw it                   good and rounded,                                   an etherizing:

I eat my razor which scalds me cold     ekes out a sextant

I am a frail tongue            –            biting thing

though I could       howl     down

the planets,                                     couldn’t we all,

but heavenly bodies don’t             go                        gentle

never             at all —

I lie sober down beside myself.




Alison Graham is a Norwich-based writer who also volunteers for Amnesty UK. She has work forthcoming in Fur-Lined Ghettos magazine, and her debut pamphlet, tin can white gown, is due for release with Pyramid Editions later this year. She has a Twitter, and more information about tin can white gown can be found here.

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Cat Woodward




Border State
Or Through a Glass Darkly

in the black space
is the black face

of a slim black boy or girl

slender black chest
pout of lips

a round that might be a testicle
black as a plum

there are no eyelashes
there are crows that scatter but do not fly away
it is hard to tell in the dark

there is the black sound of the sea
its black-tipped waves

the sound of the deep black sea
its reach like the shadows of pine trees

the iced black of the sea
its smash of black-sequinned human fish

the blackened ankles are like knots in a rope

‘Sweet Jesus,’ we say
‘cover me over’



Cat Woodward is a feminist lyric poet studying for a PhD at UEA. Her thesis explores robot voices and the robot as lyric poetics. Her poetry has been published in Lighthouse, Brittle Star, The Interpreter’s House and S/S/Y/K.

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Sarah Wedderburn





The computer I was using got
locked in the art room.
It’s not here.
But I am.
I’m Max. Year 10.
I’ve got a list, but
no PowerPoint.
Oh – and the first slide had writing on it.
It said

OK, so I took a picture of my dog.
I really love my dog,
and anyone can talk about dogs,
but it’s hard talking about love, and
I was wondering
what I felt about

This was me, squinty,
looking into the sun, and it was saying
this is insane,
this time of being alive,
this being the son – not the sun,
but you know, the child –
of people – think about it –
here on planet earth.

I mean, think about birds.
Think about feathers.
And eggs.
That’s crazy.
This was a sparrow,
on the wire,
and then it flew. Flew.
What is that?
I took it from my window.

And that was my window.
It’s got creeper round it.
Dad took it from outside, downstairs.
It was looking up and the frame is white,
and the crossbars on the sash are white.
The glass shows darkness in the room.
I’m inside. I never want to get up.

Mum made soup.
It wasn’t much to look at but
it smelled so good
I took a picture.
I can’t explain love,
I can only tell you how I feel,
That was after I ate the soup.
None left. So Mum says,
never mind,
I’ll make some more another day.
And she did.
It wasn’t the same soup, but it was all right.

It fell off the washing line
and made the shape of Africa.

Oh yeah, this slide was meant to say
fuck that. This is not about love.
This is Clinton’s card shop love.
I got it off the internet.
So fuck that.

I got these brass buttons
off my uncle who was in the army.
I keep them in a box.
When he saw them he said,
‘Oh, I forgot I gave you those;
good lad.’

There was this girl on the pier.
She smiled and I think
it was at me. I thought,
don’t go there, but I do.
I think about her.
And I look at this picture.

How you can you understand
what’s so close to you?
What are they?
They’re just mum and dad.
They’re a mystery.

This was of my party when I was twelve.
I’m not there. I’m out in the garage
gazing at my bike,
still shiny, still smelling of Halfords.

I did one of nothing.
Because nothing is everything
and everything is nothing.
That’s why you have to be kind.

He was kind.
He was older than me.
He let me crawl
through the hedge with him
but he went through first so I wouldn’t
hurt myself.

I love this picture.
I love the idea that
someone so unhappy
made something so beautiful.

Have you ever really
looked at yourself?
The best is
looking at your hands, or feet.
You can get some distance on them.

I wish you could see this.
It was a great picture.
Blue sky. Little clouds.
A windy day, morning,
and I lay on the grass
and thought a bit, staring up and out and into forever.

I took this one just before
I saw that girl.
It’s the horizon and it’s straight
and clear. It’s different
from things that don’t make sense.

It was a just a road, really.
I do remember him,
but getting that feeling –
you know that feeling?
of what he was like –
it’s harder now.
That’s it, then.
Sorry I didn’t have time to say very much
about love.


Sarah Wedderburn‘s poems have appeared in The Oxford Magazine and Oxford Poetry, and online in Poems In Which and The Stare’s Nest. She was a finalist in the poetry contest of the American online journal Narrative Magazine in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2013. She is a long term member of Roddy Lumsden’s Wednesday group. Find her work at riverinvisible.wordpress.com and Lost for words.


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Helen Evans





if you were a holy person
birds would fly to your hand
the way they flew to that elderly man
on the path by the Serpentine
to feed on the pellets and seeds
piled up on his welcoming palm

if you were only you
you’d stroke the shadowy contours
of your fear’s averted face
then settle down in its presence
like lovers on a sofa
in front of an open fire

then if you held out your hand
a female blackcap would fly
out from the fireplace
you’ll feel her grip as she lands
on your outstretched fingertip



Helen Evans’s pamphlet, Only by Flying  was published by HappenStance Press in 2015. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. Her website is www.helenevans.co.uk

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Angharad Walker




Leda Meets Helen

She is fresh on this globe from my globed belly and I am too scared to look. I dread the moment she opens her eyes. She could have his black beads.

I unwrap her. Not a feather in sight. I turn her over and over with delight, run my fingers over her human down. Her toes are angular, unwebbed. Her neck cannot hold up her head. Her lips are soft, pink, unfed.

I will never teach her to swim.

I will never dress her in white.



Angharad Walker graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2013. She lives and works in London.

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Miki Byrne





We ate our meals with hair-raising intensity.
Corked our ears in the joy of savouring,
bored by repetition as the iron grip of history
held Dad in full throat.
His achievements poured over our meals like sauce,
invited cheers, a promise to follow.
We felt pounded. Rolled like dough
into ginger-bread replicas.
His bright-future plans hot as spice in our eyes.
His hope as urgent as a pregnant woman’s
craving for chutney and ice cream.
Everything became easier with compliance
—silence helped to brave both lives
—ours, in which we climbed, grazed knees,
peered through knot holes, scrumped apples,
and the one Dad lived for us, neat as napiery.
Our lives were a table laid with possibilities,
birthday cakes  markers of endurance,
taking us closer to success, wealth, comfort for him
in his white-haired armchair years.
His voice would flavour the very air,
wrap our fingers en-croute as they clutched knives,
forks, held  just so, as he desired.
We would simply wonder what pudding might be.




Miki Byrne has had three collections of poetry published and work included in over 170 respected poetry magazines/anthologies. She has won poetry competitions, been placed in others and read on both Radio and TV. Miki began reading her work in a Bikers club in Birmingham.

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