Imogen Forster




Two Heads

On the bus, their backs to me,
two women, in conversation.
One wears a pink head-cloth
of glazed cotton, sculpted
into stiff satiny petals.
A protea, a sunflower, a cousin to
dahlias and chrysanthemums.

Her friend wears her hair
in a smooth black helmet,
so fragrant that sitting here
I picture the fat bud
of her head slowly opening
in the hothouse of the bus
and blazing into bloom.



Imogen Forster is a birdwatcher and a translator, mainly of art history, from French, Italian, Spanish and Catalan. She publishes poems on-line and in print magazines including Hark, Lunar Poetry and Lighthouse, and tweets haiku and other shorts as @ForsterImogen.

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Herb Kauderer




Patterns of Growth: Patterns of Decay

Beneath the weight of stolen love the main
branch splinters, & the stranger takes fruit newly
in reach.  The bough holds tight.  He pulls it free
without regard or care for any pain.
The tree will not acknowledge the new stain
nor yet admit its stolen kiss was guilty.
Denied the nurturing of family
the branch attempts to drink support from rain
and sun, but gains no solace from the meal.
Conspiring, nature hides the gaping sore
behind a screen of leaves, but no lush wall
of spreading green can mend what will not heal.
The wounded limb’s remains can do no more
than seek a lower height from which to fall.



 Herb Kauderer is an associate professor of English at Hilbert College, and holds an MFA from Goddard College.  He has had eight chapbooks of poetry published, most recently The Book of Answers.

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Kate Wise




February 12

- the day the birds first sing, according to the medieval calendar.
For now, they are caught in the dewdrops the spider has hung to dry

on the Hills Hoist overnight; in the rookeries that bouclé the threadbare Elm.
All is mist or spike. The sun is ill-defined, uncertain, seeping through

nicotined sky; sun like sun in water. The vaseline-lens of blossom will blur
the world soon; pastelled pigeons will bubble cool mornings, but not yet.

The elder is not in bud. You made me apologise to it last year, beg forgiveness for
hacking it back. Give it a good explanation, you said. Mess? Is order not enough?

There’s the woodpecker’s mechanical tattoo on the dead, breaking only to scoff;
not silenced by grief for the one we found frozen in the trough under ice unlikely thick.

And that pied suburban parrot, strutting and chuckling, flirting its tail. One for
sorrow. I stop, and wait, and hope a second joins.



Kate Wise has been published in New Trad Journal, Prole, Angle, and StepAway magazines, and on Proletarian Poetry. She was commended in the 2013 Cafe Writers and 2014 Manchester Cathedral competitions, and placed third in the 2014 Ware Poets competition.

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Donal Mahoney




Agnostic Afloat

You were a good boy,
following your parents’ advice,
never going out in the rain.

At the sound of rain
you dove under the bed,
bawled and shouted,

“Come out, come out
wherever you are”
but no one came out,
not even you.

When your parents died
your uncle gave you
boots and a bumbershoot
and out you went
whatever the weather.

The rain in Spring you found
a wonderful thing and not
so bad in Summer either
until the flood roared in
and you floated away.

Noah and his ark sailed by,
Noah on deck
between two giraffes
smiling and shouting,

“Come out, come out
wherever you are”
but no one came out,
not even you.



Nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at

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Jody Porter




Green Fingers

Such journeys as we had were something
really something else the zip of trees
in the train’s panorama

our lunches packed with sandwiches and gin
as we rushed to plant a weed
at the top of a hill

the unreal amber houses stretching out
the lights of the lives of those
with musical parents

the endless talented wretches
with bohemians in the family
o how we hated them.

Jody Porter is poetry editor of the Morning Star  . His poetry has appeared in Magma, South Bank Poetry, Best British Poetry 2013 and elsewhere. Originally from Essex he now lives in Stoke Newington, London.  This is his blog  Twitter:

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