The quilt still smells of you, but your bedroom walls
are pocked with blu-tack, football teams all gone.
They say you crossed the border, walked into Syria.
You will head home, I tell them. As you used to
come back from parties, drunk on girls and spliffs.
You will come in, yawning, lifting the lids
of my saucepans, grabbing a spoon. I will say,
your father is worried. Why are you breaking my heart?
It’s done. It’s broken. I was looking the wrong way,
like the guards at the airport. They caught you on camera,
clear as the scan of my womb. Now someone else
is being born, a boy with a gun, screaming obscenities.
And the view from your room is just the same:
that lilac bush, a blackbird, the washing line.
Maeve Henry was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2015. Her poems have appeared in on-line and print publications, including Mslexia, Prole, and Live Canon, and more of her poetry and prose can be found on her website, maevehenry.comRead More
Glad To Be A Dalek
I’m not your average Dalek,
You know the sort I mean,
All bent on domination;
Giving vent to all that spleen.
I like to think I’m different
From other Dalek crew,
Who keep emotions hidden
While exterminating you.
I don’t agree with killing,
With plans to subjugate.
The Universe is lovely
And I find it hard to hate.
In fact, I’ve got my own plan;
I’m working from within!
I’m teaching other Daleks
How to knit and sew and spin.
I run a secret workshop
Where Daleks can relax
And find their inner Dalek;
Get the monkey off their backs.
We try to be creative;
To make things, not destroy.
I run a Dalek choir
Learning Ludwig’s ‘Ode To Joy’.
So if you see a Dalek
In homeknit wool poncho,
Don’t run off in a panic,
Come across and say ‘Hello!’
Jonathan Humble is a deputy head teacher in Cumbria. His poetry has appeared in The Big Issue In The North, Poems For Freedom, The Caterpillar Magazine, Lighten Up Online and on BBC Radio 4 and Radio Cumbria. Through TMB Books, he has published a collection of his stuff entitled My Camel’s Name Is Brian.Read More
I tracked her by the sound her mouthparts made:
rasp, rasp, on a dry stick. She straddled it
and worked her jaws, reviving something dead,
collecting shreds of fibre. Once, in Egypt,
strips of plant stem, pressed in crisscross bands,
were made into smooth sheets—a list, a map
of the world beyond, a glove for midwives’ hands
so the child, born into papyrus, would not slip.
Rasp, rasp on a dead stalk; she chews old string
to papier-mâché, builds her fluted chambers,
a symmetry of shadows, multiplying.
Her children prosper, folded in the aumbries,
cradled in paper, smocked in the complex fabric,
the house the wasp has made, her enduring book.
Christine Whittemore is based in her home county Gloucestershire after years in the US. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The American Scholar, Orbis, Outposts, and Antiphon, and won several awards. Her novel Inscription is out now. This is her website: http://www.christine-whittemore.net/Read More
Granted, some beasts are quick.
But rounds were cheap as breaths
for him that night, and still the ropes
were coiled like laughing snakes.
I sewed his returning eyes to mine,
unstitched, busied myself again.
The pattern for a dress drew him –
acupunctured, its paper thin as sin
which crinkled as he looked.
The gas fire barked. I hushed.
I narrowed my thread to a fibre
and tucked it round his foot.
Luke Harrison is under twenty-two and lives in north London. He writes regularly at freedomnews.org.uk. His articles have featured on Contrainfo and Machorka.Read More
Reuben Woolley has been published in Tears in the Fence, The Lighthouse Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House and Ink Sweat and Tears among others. A collection, the king is dead, 2014, Oneiros Books. A chapbook, dying notes, 2015, Erbacce Press. Runner-up: Overton Poetry Pamphlet competition and the Erbacce Prize, both in 2015. A poetry pamphlet on the refugee crisis, skins, 2016, Hesterglock Press.
Sonja Benskin Mesher: I am a painter who writes, a writer that paints, a drawer on life, and landscape. … Watch me make things. Am quite patient, hold my tongue, but can’t say multi-disciplinary. Easily I live here, in Wales, Easily. I have worked full time as a visual artist since 1999, and have spent those years exploring ways to communicate thoughts and concerns. Its not all you see on the surface, it goes deeper than that. When I work I remember and try to make sense of it all.Read More