On the Eighth Day of Christmas, we bring you Cherry Doyle, Julie Maclean and Edward Heathman










Snow Queen

The snow’s been drifting in her heart for years;
her hair’s the colour of flakes blooming
on the dark road through the valley.
She is the child of shepherds, and miners
with slate-crag shoulders.

She’s seen some winters, this
queen in scuffed boots,
dragged toddlers through drifts – white
piled on white piled on white – frozen milk
and pale fingers in her grasp.

Her son recalls his father’s funeral,
the letter she never saw, the icy smart
of her wedding ring as he takes her hand in the chapel;
weeping into his daughter’s hair
as they lay flowers.

She leaves the armchair, zips her coat.
Ice spreads across the pavement like glue.
Snow blows up into the corners of the window;
feather-peaks that will fall away
and leave mountains in her blood.



Cherry Doyle lives near Cannock Chase. She works and runs a writing group in Wolverhampton. Her work has appeared in Presence, The Cadaverine, Southlight, and more. She has a degree in Creative Writing from the Open University. Find her on social media @ms_n_thrope.




What kind of humbuggery is this?

Via the black hole from heaven
she inches nervously

down the celestial ladder
/aluminium, installed

by the good man/
one cloud box at a time

Trawls through the galaxy
for the showiest bling—

birds in glass orbs, sleigh bells
snatched in the sales

Meteors of lametta
streak their glitzy wake

through her no-mess-
no-drop-needle forest

Last but never least
the Angel of Hope

braces for the conception
Wings shaken loose

at the pinions after
rough handling

impaled nevertheless
on the bristling spine

of old man pine
Cardboard crinoline

stiff with imminence
in a perpetual lean




Julie Maclean is the author of four poetry collections. Joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize with Terry Quinn her poems appear in BODY LitThe Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review, Shearsman, Poetry (Chicago) and The Best Australian Poetry, among others. Born in Bristol she is resident in Australia.




Their happy murmurs
crackle through the ceiling.
It’s so lovely it’s unbearable.

I’ve been up here all day
with the window aghast
to keep the warmth from downstairs.

Is that a laugh? A snarl
hunches in spidery fashion
and I feel the moody curl

of my sixteen year old fingers.

I could sneak down in my dressing gown
and ruin everything,
if I wanted to.




Edward Heathman was born in 1995 and grew up in South Wales. He is currently studying an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Manchester.






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