On our Sixth Date,
I offer my arm
as a right angle,
and in its taking,
you learn, perhaps,
through the calm pulse
of our stroll,
the way in which,
or the sense
of the way in which,
my hip is set.
Tom Wiggins is a 27 year-old writer from Gloucester. He is an amateur antique dealer and student studying stone masonry in Bath. He tweets @thewigginsboy.Read More
Under the pavements I’ve hidden
My map, drawn in black and carmine,
Saved for my daughters. The lessons
In reading it were secret ones, held early
In the morning: they swore on pain of death
To keep it between the three of us.
The land flushed with light as I wrote
Upon it—the trees sprouted incalculably vast
Blossoms, though it was already autumn.
People said it was the second coming,
The end of the world: why else should we
Be graced with beauty like it? I wrote a book
Explaining that everyone likes to be called
By the right name, and they burned my book
In the city squares, and the trees bloomed
Again, it was spring as you dream of it,
Not as it comes. And during the winter,
The weather was no warmer than usual,
Only more fragrant—as if I’d asked for
Something in return, as if there were love
In the map, not greed. Under the pavements
My daughters are reading the map, they
Whisper it into each other’s ears and
Wait for the world to be swamped with
Unseasonal blossom, the smell of me.
Chloe Stopa-Hunt has twice been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and won the English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize in 2010. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Magma, Oxford Poetry, and Best British Poetry 2013. This is her website.Read More
The Three Friends
Phoenix, Jade and Maisie, best friends
since Year One, stick together
in their voyage through the Infants.
Phoenix and Jade are in Mrs Clarkson’s
‘Special Class’. Maisie is a mermaid
who swims between the rocks of their desks
while Mrs Clarkson teaches Copy Writing.
Mrs Clarkson takes no notice of the blue sea
washing under her classroom door.
Phoenix and Jade take turns to ride on Maisie’s back
or do her hair with a comb they found
in the Lost Property cupboard.
Phoenix puts a parting on the left,
Jade on the right. They make ringlets
with wetted finger and thumb,
weave seaweed into a tiara.
All this happens while Mrs Clarkson is writing
on the board and the waves are getting higher.
Phoenix and Jade build a stable
in the woods behind their school.
Although they look like little girls,
inside they are made of ponies and can gallop
faster than the wind can blow. Today’s the day
that Phoenix doesn’t see an overhanging branch.
She falls, a bone comes through her skin
and though it isn’t fair, the huntsman has to shoot her
because everyone knows that’s what you do with horses.
Jade’s dad has gone away again, she doesn’t know where.
He writes her funny postcards
but she can’t write back even on his birthday.
She wants to tell him that the pip he planted
in her yoghurt pot is growing, that she’ll soon be in Year Two.
Jade’s mum says he’s not worth the price of a stamp.
Maisie’s tail fell off during the night.
She’s growing legs like a tadpole.
Phoenix and Jade give Maisie medicine
but her tadpole legs cling on,
and her tail, once shimmering emerald,
grows back stumpy black.
Maisie cries but Mrs Clarkson doesn’t hear –
she is using her Swordfish pencil sharpener
which no one else is allowed to touch.
The Accident Book is kept in the Office.
Phoenix and Jade are in it!
They’d made an ice-slide, were slithering
towards each other when they crashed.
Michael Graham said he saw their knickers.
Phoenix and Jade like Michael Graham.
He is in Year Three and has blond floppy hair.
Phoenix and Jade are glad he has noticed them
and that they are in the Accident Book.
Mucky McKenna isn’t in the Accident Book
because she walked into a door at home.
Phoenix and Jade saw red marks on her chest
when they wear getting changed for PE.
They told Mrs Clarkson and Mucky went to hospital
in Mrs Clarkson’s car.
Ten years on, the friends are seventeen.
Phoenix works at Nippy Scissors.
Jade is on a Nail Technician’s course.
Michael Graham went to Afghanistan and got killed.
This Friday is his funeral.
Phoenix and Jade will sit with Mrs Clarkson and cry,
remembering Michael’s floppy hair.
They’ll end up in the pub.
Maisie’s ghost will swim between the tables,
flip her stumpy tail to Nothing Compares 2 U.
Jennifer Copley lives in Cumbria. She has published four pamphlet and three full collections: ‘Unsafe Monuments’ (Arrowhead 2006), ‘Beans in Snow’ (Smokestack 2009) and ‘Sisters’ (Smokestack 2013). She has been placed in many competitions including the Bridport and the Cardiff and shortlisted twice for the Strokestown. She has been published in The Rialto, The North, The Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph and her work has been included in GCSE revision papers.Read More
How did they
to make this coffee
taste of fish?
in the uniquely
that makes it sound
as if it’s
all my fault
and asked if
keep a secret before
taking me round
back to a
of liquid in such
that I almost
threw up. One
on the back
into the pool
to tickle something,
a fish-shaped ripple,
a fish, six
two metres wide:
the largest and
I’d ever seen,
its saucer eyes
staring into the state
of being that lies
beyond the manic.
I tutted gently
for me to decide
how I felt about this.
James Coghill has had poems published in The Cadaverine and Popshot Magazine. He is quietly working on a number of projects, not all of which involve animals (some involve cinemas and insects also).Read More
Off the Rails
At midnight, the town
travels, swallowing snake-
joined, dot to dot
houses, breathing through
windows, illusion borne
currents, electric gold,
mirrored and flaming.
In my mind I control
it, a plastic snake
snapping, each click
of each segment
a jut of its hipless,
Holding the train
I throw the trails
from each mapped out
journey, lacing the paths
of luminous strangers,
chained like fairy-lit pearls.
The span of my hand,
a flesh-webbed cloud,
covers their eyes and
becomes their earth,
until I let go and they
hurtle, back into
timetabled stops and changes.
K. S. Moore blogs at ksmoore.com and was recently shortlisted for Blog Awards Ireland. She was a Flash Mob 2013 finalist and has been published in FlashFlood, The Bohemyth and Writing.ie. She has work forthcoming in The Seventh Quarry.Read More