Megan O’Reilly

 

 

 

15th of April
 
Saturday morning,
I watch condensation drip down the window
and steam rise from the brim of a blue coffee cup.

Today marks a year since your death
and I still sit at this same window,
sip from a cup you gave me two Christmases ago.

I reach out to wipe the glass,
and the garden comes into focus,
just as a figure steps out onto the lawn,

a shape made of delicate bones:
a deer , alone and trembling,
as she picks her way through the long grass.

Deer don’t come down this far from the forest.
Perhaps she came for the mushrooms;
the morels and the fresh shoots of grass.

I move closer to the window, she stops,
body juddering like an old movie reel.
Then she looks right at me.

I am close enough to see her dark brown eyes.
She tilts her head to the side, as if to speak.
But there are no words.

She disappears and leaves the garden bare.
But for an instant, your brown eyes looked back at me.

 

 

 

 

Megan O’Reilly is a 22 year old Creative Writing and English literature student living in Bath. She is currently working on her first pamphlet of poetry inspired by the loss of her best friend. You can find her café loitering and petting every dog she meets, that is if you don’t confuse her with her identical twin sister.

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Lee Nash

 

 

 

Fallout

It worries me that she shagged him on his desk.
I think of her bad back. I think it may not be that bad.
I think that this only happens in Cosmo
and that thought makes me feel naive.
I think there is something wrong with me –
I have not shagged anyone on a desk (so far).
I worry over the details. If it was daytime.
If his secretary was at her desk. If the door was locked.
Was my file on the desk at the time? Her file?
Was this the first and only time on the desk?
If she could be more precise, was it up against the desk?
This is the desk I sat down at in my hour of need.
Somehow I feel betrayed. She implies I am jealous.
We are so different. By now she has ordered a steak.

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Nash‘s poems have appeared in print and online journals including Acorn, Ambit, Angle, Magma, Mezzo Cammin, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, The Heron’s Nest and The Lake. Her poetry collection Ash Keys is published by Flutter Press. leenashpoetry.com

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Alexandra Melville

 

 

 

Intermission

The afternoon hangs like orange peel,
our lips tight as a nun’s pinch, the plump
sucked out by three pm as if through rind.
I watch clockwise hands; I don’t know
what you watch. My eyes slide from you.
We Janus face away together. If we had guns

it would be too much trouble to fire them.
Fighting now would be an act of violent faith – love –
nail your colours to a beam. Sponge your
own chest with vinegar. Take the offered
segment, flick off the pith and bite a tough
grin in your half-time slice. This still is not the end.

 

 

 

Alexandra Melville is a writer and educator. She was long-listed for the Poetry School’s Primers competition 2017 and her poetry has appeared in Brittle Star and MIR Online. She is studying the MA in Creative Writing and Education at Goldsmiths.

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Hannah Welfare

 

 

 

Alter Ego

A cardboard coffin
Small as a shoebox
And filled with stones

And tiny bones

I take it to the
Wood

No good
Shall come of this

This morning
I painted my face away

And cut off my hair
I left my long red locks
For the birds
To line their nests

Where go you?
Asks the rook
That grants me
His narrative gaze

Little girl
In your
Cloak of cobwebs
Where do you go?

Lend me your
Cape
And I will
Give you wings
The colour of silence

Carry your coffin
Of bones and rocks
On the spread of your span

Use your talons
To scratch earth
And dig

Cover
The tilled
Grave
With anemone
And wild garlic

Fly home to me
And I will return you
To a form so
Witching

That nothing
But the voice in your
Throat

Will ever
Break bones again

 

 

 

Hannah Welfare has been published in First Time, Brittle Star, The Linnet’s Wings, Fat Damsel, Miracle Magazine, Obsessed With Pipework and other magazines.  She has had two collections of poetry (“Garden Of Ghosts” and “Insect Nights”) published by KT Publications.

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Mark McDonnell

 

 

 

Wake

Long ago, I watched them pound
their drinks while I hid, fiercely shy
behind the door. An uncle found
me there. And even now I try

to block their shouts, so unrestrained
yet forced, that room so very small.
They laughed but said they grieved; they drained
the Bells. My father most of all.

They brought me in to ‘give us songs’
and, being young, I must have seemed
a balm for all their petty wrongs,
some token of the things they’d dreamed.

I think I flashed a mad, wet eye
in his direction; someone led
me stumbling, Comin’ thro’ the Rye.
He stopped me, sent me off to bed.

She was gone – but they were left
with drink and song. He looked so numb
that night, so fragile and bereft.
So fearful of the days to come.

 

 

 

Mark McDonnell lives in Staffordshire, England where he teaches in a high school. His poem ‘Communion’ was recently shortlisted for the 2017 TLS Mick Imlah Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in Snakeskin Poetry, Antiphon, Shot Glass Journal and will be featured shortly in Measure. He was a finalist in the 2016 Eratosphere Sonnet Bake-Off.

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Diane Mulholland

 

 

The Woodsman

The blade bites from above and below
until the wedge of air is deep in the trunk,
like half of an hourglass waist, and the woodsman
pauses, sets down the axe, and stretches his back.

On the other side the second wedge
speeds towards the first, the trunk shrinks
until the causeway of wood is flooded

and the wasp-waist cracks. The tree remains
balanced on the memory of its tallness
for the length of time between the thrust of a pin
and the shattering of a balloon.

Watch him rest the axe against his boot
and slowly wipe both hands on canvas-covered thighs.
Watch as the tree finally sighs and slips

and crashes to the forest floor as precisely
along the fall-line as if he’d chalked it there.
Two screeching white-as-white cockatoos
circle into a patch of new blue sky.

 

 

Born in Australia, Diane Mulholland now lives in London where she can often be found beside the Thames. Her poems have appeared in journals including Under the Radar and The Interpreter’s House, and she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

 

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Simon Collings

 

 

Azucar Negra

The harbour too was beyond recall. It was evening, the tide a long way out, and the air redolent of citrus and crushed cane. Expressed as an equation it might have been a new opening. In the car park life-size models of angels with brass trumpets hung suspended on wires, their wings glowing in the fading light. I chose to leave the others and go down there. The people on the quayside were strangers, and I spoke with each of them in turn. The words ‘braced’ and ‘translucent’ may have been used though it isn’t certain. From a boat out at sea we could hear the sound of a woman singing, the import lost in the wind.

 

 

Simon Collings has published poems, stories, critical reviews and essays in a range of publications including Ink, Sweat and Tears, Stride, Tears in the Fence, Lighthouse, Brittle Star and PN Review. His two poetry chapbooks are – Out West (Albion Beatnik Press, 2017) and Stella Unframed (Red Ceilings, 2018). https://simoncollings.wordpress.com

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