The Second Day of Christmas – Grant Tarbard, Katy Evans-Bush and Seth Crook




Nikolaos the Wonderworker

Asthmatic pipe smoker, gift giver,
you wear a crown of holly fixed

on your Medusa strands,
beard of clouds stuck fast on top of wire.

A pile off of the tinker’s cart in the crook of your arm
resting on your cauldron belly,

a painted rocking horse, a wooden doll,
a Union belt, a pocket watch stuck on 6.20,

pouches of tobacco and a cutlass sheathed.
You started as a pore and grew,

leaving dead Christmas trees
in your wake. Secretly you crept

like a pantomime villain placing
a coin in shoes left for tomorrow’s feet.



Grant Tarbard has worked as a computer games journalist, a contributor to football fanzines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. He is now the editor of The Screech Owl. His work can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist 2, Lake City Lights, The Open Mouse, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Zymbol and Decanto.




The Bay Sleigh

Green as the present, green as presents, green as old St Nick,
the leaves tumble out of their branch, curved as a sleigh –
and at its back, a little broken bit where it was torn from the tree,
which any sleigh must be, if it’s to fly. The pulsing sap
has given over to the power of metaphor and the curving leaf
that sits among the others, in the middle of the sleigh,
as if it’s leaning back, but really it’s bellying
forward into the sky and into the timeless night
of Christmas, the night of the year when the sky’s most spangled with stars,
and the air is clear and remembers when the earth stopped spinning beneath it,
inside it, and just for a tiny moment stood still. Still, all over the world
little branches like this one are growing – small conveyances –
and old St Nick sits in the bushes, laughing and hiding.



Katy Evans-Bush‘s two collections are Me and the Dead and Egg Printing Explained (both from Salt). She writes the blog  and reviews widely. A collection of her essays will be published in 2015.




The least accessible place

It’s what the reindeer talk about
in Spring, when he’s still sleeping,
after his labours, the genial old boy,
the super athlete who breaks all
human records in one night. Marvel,

they marvel, at how he leaps from
continent to continent, remember
how he accidentally dropped a package
in Hong Kong, so then leapt back
to pick it up from far Peru. But when

he squeezes into toothpaste tubes
just to make the gift of paste all red
and white. How they roar. Bravo.
Still the best, Sir. Still the ace.


Seth Crook taught philosophy at various universities before deciding to move to the Hebrides. His poems appear in recent editions of Magma, The Rialto, Envoi, Gutter, Southlight, The Journal, Prole, New Writing Scotland, and on have appeared on-line in Antiphon, Snakeskin and Ink, Sweat and Tears.

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