The Sixth Day of Christmas – Sarah James, Sarah Watkinson and Joanne Key




With Persimmon

Little things catch in my throat at Christmas:

noticing more cracked mugs, the concrete

corner of our kitchen which is still unlinoed;

the matchsticks that still prop white tiles.


At the table, I lose tally of our daily

uneaten fruit: a still life of shrunken apples,

hardened oranges and dented melons.

The ghost-thin space between them widens.


We no longer need to count places.

Sometimes now it’s easier to pretend

tears are invisible. Unleashed words

stop laughter; absence grows bigger.


But when I hoover this year’s tinsel

from the carpet, the vacuum refuses

to choke down its silver glitter

with the tree’s loosed needles.


Later, I choose a persimmon and cut

the crisp-skinned flesh into thin circles

that reveal their petalled hearts.

I lay them out just as my Nan used to:


an offering of sliced stars on each plate.



Sarah James is an award-winning poet, short fiction writer and journalist. The Magnetic Diaries, a narrative in poems, is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press in April 2015 and her fourth poetry collection, plenty-fish, by Nine Arches Press at the end of 2015. Her website is at and she is editor at V. Press



Star of Light

The moon came ten miles home with me
after Aladdin at the Alhambra.
Must have left Bradford in the dark.

And later she followed me back two hundred miles
from King’s Cross, gliding past lit kitchen windows
and the glimmer of villages, reappearing after every station.

A comet sailed alongside Finnair when I flew to you
across Siberia, eight hours of dark snow,
and vanished as we met in the morning light of Kansai.

On the Anatolian plain I understood
only fixed stars are beacons, landmarks
between us and Infinity.



Sarah Watkinson is a scientist with a 2012 Oxford University Diploma in Creative writing. Her poetry can be found in Pennine Platform, The Poet’s House Oxford  The Morning Star online:
Nutshells & Nuggets and The Stare’s Nest.  She tweets  @philonotis




The Light Collector

You wait in shadow, face upturned
and luminous, resting in the palms of a day.
I hope the first pale kiss of sun wakes you
before morphine finds work for an idle mind
and calls you deeper in, to follow the arc of a falling star.
Last night, I dreamt of you as a Light Collector.
You told me how you loved your work, how happy
you were trapped inside yourself. God only knows,
it broke my heart to see you grabbing at thin air
for every glowing rat’s tail that scurried
past your eyelids, away under the door.
I cried when I saw you, waist deep, wading out
to skim that thin skin of varnish off a body
of black water. In the dark field, your frantic hands
rubbing the floor, looking for buttercups.
How skilled you were at splitting a straight line
of shine from every rod of cold steel, expertly
bending it back on itself, making a grappling hook
to swing out into nothingness.
Later, when the worry inside me
became rowdy with neon monsters,
you slipped through that small window
in the bowl of my wine glass and I watched you,
so strong and tiny, casting yourself out
onto every bubble making its own way up;
those small balloons of light, popping,
and me topping-up just to watch you drop
back down to the bottom, start again, no end in sight.



Joanne Key lives in Cheshire. She writes poetry and has recently completed an MA in Contemporary Arts at MMU Cheshire.

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