Rachel J Fenton




weren’t my idea of oven, more like top loader weshing machine, but were all art college ‘ad. inside: an asbestos lined cylinder, seven shelves, each level ‘eld by a joggle, pizza-esque. my work were first to go in: anthers amplified in excess of natural size; stigma and stamen, didynamous pairs; extruded clay wrought ‘uman like but for pollen grains tweezed on outside. i’d transferred for welshman i loved; white rose had gone for a leek. gran said peg’d tecken prop for a toddle. i were young, din’t think in relief, believed Schrödinger was name of some psychic cat purrin a box for laugh. i weren’t present when they lifted lid. occupying bottom shelf were to prove my undoing. i ‘an’t wedged clay reight; it’s fatal if an air bubble gets in. best part of a year’s work blown to smithereens. first in, blast out. walking into kiln room, i’ll nivver forget; a stormy neet. i went home to find all weshing off line, covered in muck in neighbours’ gardens. prop, fallen in long grass.



Rachel J Fenton was born in South Yorkshire and currently lives in Auckland. Finalist in the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize, she won the University of Plymouth’s seventh annual Short Fiction Competition. She blogs here, and tweets as @RaeJFenton

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Bethany Rivers




Without Goodbyes
(for Karen)

An eternal white corridor;
my mother retreating,
leaving me with a too-large bed
with medical-mint bed-spread.

She blurs to a Lowry figure.
The corridor cuts and incises
then magnifies her stiletto sounds
to a music I still hear.



Bethany Rivers has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University.  She has previously been published by Cinnamon Press, Bare Fiction and Scintilla (USA).  She is currently working on her first full collection of poetry, and teaches creative writing.

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Linda M. Crate




foolish man

“ich bin zufrieden,” i murmured
you looked at me
as if i had lost my mind and asked me,
“you are what?”
“happy. it means i am happy.”
mostly i ignore braggarts,
but when you insisted your sister spoke
german the little voice with the horns
in my head told me to show you up
so i did;
it seemed to take you by surprise—
you can always learn,
but you cannot call your words back or the way
you’ve made people feel;
always you make me feel so small and inconsequential
maybe in the grand scheme of things
i am,
but no one likes feeling that way—
once you called me a hobbit,
but the old man in line looked up at me and shook
his head insisting i was too tall which made
me smile;
no one likes to be belittled
you always seem so ready to share everything you know
there is no mystery and intrigue only
a constant monotony
which eventually gives me a headache whilst i smile
politely trying not to envision myself
hitting you over the head repeatedly with the turbo oven
because you’re nice and all
just socially awkward without the capacity to see
when one ought to hold their tongue.



Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic is forthcoming from Ravenswood Publishing. You can follow her here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-M-Crate

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A Brief Analysis of Soup and Soup Making

I invite you to consider
this pot of broth.
Neither meal nor beverage,
it side-steps categorization
with a gentle, but jaunty slop.
Mistress of disguises,
it can sometimes be
stew, chilli, gravy.

Good soup is not made.
It evolves
slowly, lovingly
after multiple simmerings and stirrings,
plus surgical removals of the skin.
Tasted, sampled, consumed,
re-heated and augmented,
absorbing equally
the old and the fresh,
the abandoned and the rediscovered.

Soup can last a lifetime,
granting hope
to cast-aside dinners,
rejected repasts,
the forgotten vegetable hiding
at the bottom of fridge or freezer,
unnamed, unadorned animal parts
your grandmother knew intimately.

Tended, it is a flavour
that keeps on giving, a heritage
of choices and second chances,
bubbling with life
and hidden secrets
and of such potential longevity
it is almost
primeval, eternal soup.
Who knows what
it may become next?



J.S.Watts is a UK writer. She has published three books: two poetry, Cats and Other Myths and Songs of Steelyard Sue and a novel, A Darker Moon. Her second novel, Witchlight is due out in Spring 2015. See http://www.jswatts.co.uk/  or  www.facebook.com/J.S.Watts.page   

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Imogen Cassels





I’d like a knife, small enough
to pocket. If you could find
a pretty one I’d appreciate it.
Shallowness I prize most of all.

Sorry if this is dark. I’m not good
at being profound, but I’m quite good
at silence and mood-killing. I suppose
I’ll be even better at that soon.

Bring a knife with a steel blade,
bring a knife that’s light in hand,
bring a knife with an edge I can’t see –
I think that will make it easier.

So this is just so you know.
I’m reducing myself – the cut
in the crook of my arm is a seam.
I wish I’d learnt to sew.
I suppose it isn’t too late.

Late Autumn and the light’s
taking me with it. I might
be back by early Spring,
in those early buds blessed
suddenly by frost. I am a clutch
of ghosts, waiting to happen.



Imogen Cassels is from Sheffield, and currently studies English at university. She was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2013, and Commended in 2011/2012. Her work features in the Cadaverine Collection, Black & BLUE, Far Off Places and Cadaverine.

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