Rats run across the A1 and fade
into the hard shoulder. I shake my
head, wind down the window, take
deep breaths of iced air and bonfire
remnants until I reach the services,
park, and let my eyes close for a
hundred seconds. Want to call but
you’re at The George in your leather
jacket and orange lipstick, and you
never answer anyway. The phone
rings and sends me to Oxford, so I
slap my cheeks, switch on some
grime, and I’m fine until I reach
the lights, where there’s a man
kneeling by his car, spanner in hand,
working at his wheel, and when I
slow down to look, he’s gone.
I accelerate, see flashes in the trees,
but I focus on the cats’ eyes, turn up
the radio, go into fifth .
Hannah Tuson lives in Hertfordshire. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Kingston University. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in Notes From the Underground, Cadaverine Magazine, Spread the Word’s 2012 anthology: Things That Have Happened, Pomegranate, MAP, Message in a Bottle and Mslexia.Read More
Below the Feather
Cuckoo agrees that
the guts of a pig
would make fine compost
in the garden of
Eden. His blatant
attempts to deflect
the butchering hoe
of Adam didn’t work,
cuckoo’s hot bowels
would be plucked below
the feather and placed
the flush leaf mold, his
blush blood would be sprayed
Grant Tarbard has worked as a computer games journalist, a contributor to football fanzines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. He is co-founder of Resurgant Press. 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 andDecanto. His first collection ’Yellow Wolf’ is out now, published by WK Press.Read More
The Butcher’s Wife
His hands are white as a princess’s,
or milk, so the network of veins
shows through as clear as a blueprint.
They are cold, like the petals of lilies,
marble-cool. The nails are kept short.
He uses a brutal brush
to scour under them. Then he files
them smooth as shells. They are pink
like sweeties, like fondant, like blushing brides.
In the evenings, I sit on the sofa, try not to watch
those hands constructing exquisite butterflies
from origami paper, one after another.
Their movements are as intricate
as ballet, caress the paper, gentle as a lover.
Each fold precise, in its own way, as surgery.
At night, those hands are on me.
They smell like blood, a rusty vehemence
infecting the heat of the bedroom.
I dream of skeins of bunnies, the sides
of cows, the skin peeled off,
those hands parting my ribs.
Kitty Coles has been writing since she was a child but only submitting her work for publication in the last few years. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Mslexia, Iota, The Interpreter’s House, Obsessed With Pipework and South. Website: www.kittyrcoles.comRead More
To be a lyre bird, dove…or pigeon:
strong-clawed and sleek-feathered.
To write songs of flight in italics
against grey skies, and dig out
the worms that dirt hides. To carry dawn
home in my silky down, spread light
across fields and town, then balance
stillness in the winter’s stark trees.
To know heights higher than the highest
branch, grip the hardest edge of ice
and graze the skins of frozen lakes.
To see small breaths slowly melt
even landlocked limbs. For his touch
to ruffle my night face now, softly
as a snowy owl, with the dark eyes
of a falcon: fierce, starless and deep
enough to drown my fears.
Sarah James is a poet, fiction writer and journalist. A narrative in poems, The Magnetic Diaries, is published by KFS and a collection, plenty-fish, with Nine Arches Press this summer. Her début collection, Into the Yell, won third prize in the multi-genre International Rubery Book Awards 2011. www.sarah-james.co.uk
First published in The Magnetic Diaries, Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2015Read More
The lawn is overgrown,
grass sprouts like unruly hair,
the flowerbed bare
where a patient trowel turned the soil
like little gravestones
mark the spot where come spring
green shoots will rise out of earth
from inert bulbs buried there.
Scraps of shrubs.
perching precariously on spiked stilts
petals of vermilion velvet.
Paint peeling from eaves
recovering from sunburn of summer,
and something emerging through the doorway
between two men.
I remove my cap.
Blackbirds lift from a tree, sound
an ironic round of applause.
James R Kilner‘s first collection of poems, Frequencies of Light, is out now. He is a former newspaper journalist and holds a PhD from the University of Leeds. Originally from Yorkshire, he now lives on Tyneside. Please visit www.jameskilnerwriter.wordpress.com.