Our featured publication for January is Seal Wife by Kitty Coles, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.
Seal Wife uses stories and characters taken from folktales, fairy tales and myths to explore themes of loss, longing and transformation.
‘Kitty Coles submerges herself in the world of myth, fairy tale and legend to meld together personal, natural and supernatural worlds. Teeming with dramatic imagery, these poems reflect a remarkable, and at times, macabre imagination. An exciting first collection that will, like the persona in The Doe-Girl , ‘leave tracks, like tidy hearts, behind’.’ Maggie Sawkins
‘This is a confident poetry, dextrous in its unforced appropriation of allegorical and mythic tropes…Not unlike Ian Duhig’s ‘The Lammas Hireling’, Seal Wife achieves a powerful lift-off into the strange, the occult and the preternatural. Never less than convincing, this is an impressive debut highly worthy of our attention.’ – Martin Malone
He will not go quietly, this old red autumn.
The sunsets burn like flares at the horizon.
The air is weighted with the stink of pyres.
Blight makes the leaves surrender, dry and fall.
The river has unseamed the banks and risen
across the fields, made moats around the trees.
Above the mountain, the clouds coagulate.
They turn themselves to blackness, choke the stars.
And we, revolving in our draughty heaven,
dwindle like wasps when winter thins their stores.
I will see you again on the other side of the water.
Our sustenance will be the morning dew.
She had always been timid,
wide-eyed, easily startled
by sudden noises,
thin-legged, fond of woodland,
prone to running.
One day, she sensed a pressure
in the skull. Antlers
emerged, puny at first,
Her ears lengthened
and her eyes, once blue,
turned black all over,
like ink spreading through water.
Now, we glimpse her sometimes,
moving between tree-trunks,
wary, at a distance.
Her hooves leave tracks,
like tidy hearts, behind.
She vanishes, silent,
dapples of light.
We don’t think she knows us
The Seeds Of The Pomegranate
have a perfumed flavour, biting and luscious,
streak the wrists with fluid.
Their juice marks cloth almost indelibly.
We share a fruit. You halve it and the blade
forces apart the grisly mass of jewels.
You hack, they bleed, fight to retain their wholeness.
You feed me arils from your guilty fingers.
Their smell is winey, green, but I think
of my flesh, the cysts beading its centre.
My mother scours the city
as we lie here. I am lost to her light.
My mouth is full of your gift.
The weather turns.
A wind from the north has flown in,
with its violent curse,
and it raises the waves
till I cannot shut out their yowling.
The old scars itch on my flank,
The hairs on my spine rise up
in the chill that presses
itself under the door,
an insinuating ghost.
The cat has wound herself
to an endless running
from one end of the house to the other,
poor bristling devil.
The grass is aching with frost.
Birds fall, small toys,
from the trees in their deaths.
The cold is murderous.
In the churchyard, the drowned
walk at noon as if it were night.
They return to old beds,
slip in by their frozen wives.
And I am numbing myself
with my baking, my stitching, by washing
the floors till the stone begins to thin.
I hide my face from the mirror:
its enquiry threatens.
If I could forget, the water could not claim me.
Previous publication credits are ‘Ragnarok’ – The Cro Magnon, The Seeds of the Pomegranate – The Interpreter’s House, and Seal Wife – Obsessed with Pipework.
Kitty Coles lives in Surrey and works as a senior adviser for a charity supporting disabled people. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her first pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in 2017. Her website is www.kittyrcoles.com
Seal Wife (Indigo Dreams Publishing, 2017) may be purchased from: http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/kitty-coles/4593990487