Beth McDonough




We observe this word, abscission

turn fashionable, hang in air.
Once botanists’ part-property, at least
cased in scientific sights; now –
in this most now of times – it’s ours.

Perhaps this year holds terms
longer, closer than is usual. Leaves
in every kind of autumn still a little,
thinwrist-clutch reluctant trees before

that glorious fall. Never gutter-sent.
Severing, their moves amaze
new-play with grace. All our seasoned
expectations have not prepared us

for their readiness in separation.
Watchful, we learn to accept abscission.


Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Causeway, Antiphon, Interpreter’s Houseand elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia. and McDonough’s of autism. She was recently Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts.

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Sue Spiers



Coupling with Jane Austen

Even so. You would be surprised,
although perhaps you had surmised,

to hear how often I watched you,
sometimes I was positive you knew

how often I was on the point of falling
down on your bed and crawling

in with you. I have entered many a shop,
bought veils, even sun-glasses at the co-op,

to avoid your sight, as the carriage drove by.
I truly believed you were a good guy.

Lodging as I did in Bond Street,
two doors between faith and cheat,

there was hardly a day
I spied your wife. The way

in which I did not catch a glimpse
of her is mockery to me, makes chimps

of one or other of you; and nothing
can feel the shame to which I cling

but the most constant watchfulness
to curb my lust and contain distress

on my side, a most invariably prevailing,
aggravating situation: this trailing

desire to keep out of your sight
has vexed me and only her right

could have separated us so long.
Why is loving you so wrong?




Sue Spiers has a poem in Paper Swan’s Press The Pocket Poetry Book of Cricket and has six times been published on IS&T now. For other news Sue tweets @spiropoetry.


Note: Words taken from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen P198 (Wordsworth Editions The Complete Novels of Jane Austen)

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Sandra Galton





There are no horses in the field opposite,
only a pale stubble cut to the quick.

No, there are no horses, but I can conjure them,
their autumn coats, the brisk shiver of sinewed necks
in the stippled mist that clings like breath.

I do not see them,
but I clasp them to my brain, those solid shapes,
flexing fetlocks, the switch switch of tails.

Yes, I think – such unbroken beauty must persist,
and I stretch out my hand, but they shift, whinnying,
stamp and scrape the ground, then whinny again.

I did not hear them,
they were in my core,  I sensed this enduring fear.
I know that I must drop my eyes,
snort softly, bring my head to rest along theirs

so that we might breathe, each to the other.



Sandra Galton is a musician living in London. She has been published in The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Under the Radar (forthcoming) among other magazines. Several of her poems have been commended or won prizes in competitions.

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Daniel Wade





When he got kicked out in second year
for smoking hash on the Astroturf,
relief heaved from everyone’s throat.
No longer would we have to fear
his ape-like strut, fists’ basalt salvo,
rain-grey tracksuit, knife-like stare.

There were lads two, three years older
scared shitless of him.
A box off him left you bruised, winded;
your gashed mouth inhaled gravel
as his Reeboks slapped off asphalt,
his knuckles flexed, re-flexed bone-white.

He reminded us that, next to him, we were
still only kids, mammy’s boys softened
by affections he probably never had, our
innocence mortifying and bared, our voices
still reedy and cracked against his surly baritone,
and our reluctance to hit back, give him

a taste of his own savagery, secure. His fist
held the key to every hard-bitten door.
He shook it, a tattooed incitement to war,
spelling out the value of hatred in school.
Yes, his hatred had been welcome.
As welcome as it was mutual.

I heard he tried topping himself later. Years
of dejection boiled down to it before he lobbed
himself into the stream near his estate,
hoping to either bash his skull off sunken rocks
or else drown in the rapids,
set his body afloat like fleshy driftwood.

After they pulled him out, he was at first
unresponsive to the C.P.R
before his eyes snapped open and a few
choked fuck you’s bubbled and fizzed
off his tongue; when he was fully woke,
lava dribbled from his mouth.





Daniel Wade is a poet from Dublin, Ireland. In January 2017, his play The Collector was staged at the New Theatre, Dublin. Daniel was also the Hennessy New Irish Writing winner for April 2015 in The Irish Times.




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Judith Taylor




From where I sat
I thought he was wearing
red shoes

an eccentric choice with all that
so correct black
and I liked him for it.

Not until he stepped down
did I see they too
were black, ferociously

polished; and that blood shade
was only the reflection
of something underfoot.


Judith Taylor lives and works in Aberdeen. Her poetry has been published widely in magazines and her first full-length collection, Not in Nightingale Country, was published in 2017 by Red Squirrel Press.   Website:

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Sue Wallace-Shaddad




I feel boxed in
condemned to slow
spherical orbit.
I could be a square
pretending to be a rectangle
but the isosceles in me
won’t have it.
My perpendicular
is at odds
with your diagonal.
Right angled, blindsided,
I try to fit everything
into shape.




Sue Wallace-Shaddad has poems published by The French Literary Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Poetry Space, The Dawntreader.  She is studying the Newcastle University/Poetry School MA in Writing Poetry and is Secretary of Suffolk Poetry Society.

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Andrew Turner



While the rope creaks

The tall red haired girl recollects
that she has balanced on
the frayed tips of forests
the mutant skins of rivers
the sawn edges of seas

that her precarious symmetry has taken
her along the uncertain beam
of the world but now
she balances in her Novembered room
one foot only on the slowly tipp-
ing chair
and I am rushing to her
my arms full of embroidered cushions
I will have spent far too long choosing








Andrew Turner has been published online and in print. He lives in Staffordshire.

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