‘Truth’ for National Poetry Day: Rachel Burns, Julie Maclean, Lindz McLeod





The defendant’s elderly mother tells you
she can’t hear very well.

You listen to the graphic descriptions
of the child images her son viewed on his computer

like a punch in the stomach.
You have children, you are a mother.

His mother’s face twists as if she is sucking
on a lemon. She clutches her handbag

straining to hear the barrister
as he discusses each count

and the custodial guidelines.
You listen to the judge’s

summing up, thinking about
how you will avoid the truth

how you will skirt over the facts
if she asks. For you know

his mother probably hears more than she lets on
selective hearing makes the truth

that much easier to swallow.



Rachel Burns has poetry published in Crannog, Poetry Salzburg Review, Algebra of Owls and is anthologized in Poems for Grenfell Tower, Poems for the NHS and #MeToo. She has a poetry pamphlet forthcoming with Vane Women Press.





Now that you’ve left me

for the desert
and a red rock
i thought i’d be
listening for cars
on gravel
a door slamming
and I do watch out
for shadows
on white tiles
shivers of light
on the walls
mistake the head
of papyrus tossed
in the wind
for the head
of a bad man
but I’m listening more
to myself
sounding the rhythm
of each day
and what it gives
in solitude
in stillness
i’m not reaching
into the past
for some old love 
but thinking of
sweet potato curry
seeds I have to plant
more than anything
a solitary chair
in my eyrie
my eye
to a galaxy in flux
the way it reinvents itself 
the view I mean
and i’m surprised
to find i have no fear
and few regrets
except one
the fear of
your return



Julie Maclean is the author of four pamphlets, including a collaboration with Terry Quinn, and one full collection, When I Saw Jimi,  available here:  www.juliemacleanwriter.com

Note: This poem first appeared in Under the Radar, 2018






When we drove up the coast.
I saw so many bodies.
Two hedgehogs, one seagull. I have questions—
what happened to the gull? I can understand
The hedgehogs but not the gull; surely, surely
it would have been higher, freer,
not stuck to the gluedried earth.
like I am. I would never have flown near
any car         if I was a gull.
I would remember
To avoid people.
One hare too, but that was different.
The ribcage was exposed, a bite taken from the
Heart            body left intact
A fitting warning.
The stars have dusted you with love;
they cried out while my lips compared.
I swallow all your thrown mistakes,
the grape-sour taste of lesson learned.
I wonder how fast we need to be going
For the asphalt to knock me out.



Lindz McLeod has published poetry with Wingless Dreamer, Passaic/Völuspá,  Meat For Tea: the Valley Review, Indie Blu(e) anthologies, and For Women Who Roar, with work forthcoming in Coffin Bell and Sunbeam anthologies. @lindzmcleod

Note: This poem first appeared in Prometheus Dreaming

Comments are closed.