Not all photographs belong in albums – Abigail Flint

Not all photographs belong in albums

It’s Christmas morning and his face
is a stale balloon.
His brined eyes seek something
beyond this house. And her,
in Care Bear pyjamas
clutching the Sindy horse and carriage
in its pink and white box,
her eyes wide as mushrooms.
She leans to him the way children
make lions of the fathers they have.
Let me reach in and shift his weight
to the wall. Let me fold her
like paper into the dolls’ house
and tell its scaly feet to run deep
deep into the Baba Yaga’s forest.

Abigail Flint is a heritage researcher from Sheffield. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in a range of magazines including Under the Radar, Ink Sweat and Tears, Reliquiae, Popshot Quarterly, About Larkin, 192 magazine, and research project anthologies. Twitter: @constantunusual

The Time Machine – Tom Kelly

The Time Machine

Vincent is Captain America only the zip on his back is missing
revealing a five-year-old’s spine and not our superhero.
He does not care one little bit as he flies constantly
waiting for me to growl, frighten him, but not too much.
I pull an evil face (easy for me), he dives away.
I shout louder, his head almost spins off its axis.
When it is time for me to go, he follows on his scooter –
we both agree it’s really a time machine.

Tom Kelly is a north-east of England writer. He has had eleven books of poetry, short stories and a play published in as many years. His new collection THIS SMALL PATCH has recently re-printed by Red Squirrel Press.

Wild – Hannah Linden


Mouse-eared into tight corners, smalled 
into holes lined with abandoned wishbones, 
it took time to learn the skreels were my own.  
He did not seem to hear them, or realise
that behind skirting boards, there were 
tunnels gnawed into being when the house 
was asleep. He still walks through the rooms 
he opened to the public, but the real work 
is behind the scenes, deep in the foundations 
or under layers of old wallpaper that is no longer 
replaceable. I have chewed it all, made nests 
for impossible futures, conceived them 
when he was unaware how my wildness still 
lived under floorboards, in cavities in the walls.

Hannah Linden is published widely including or upcoming in Atrium, Lighthouse, Magma, New Welsh Review, Prole, Proletarian Poetry, Stand, The Interpreters’ House, Under the Radar and the 84 Anthology etc. She is working towards her first collection. Twitter: @hannahl1n

Tickenham Hill – Matt Gilbert

Tickenham Hill

Somewhere beneath that listening ridge
the winds are gossiping again, in tongues
beyond the most vague and coarse translation.

A breezy sonic-catalogue of air let loose,
wheezes up behind walkers staggering up
the slopes, outroaring the M5 at every step

Until the top with banks now bare again,
fit for prehistoric sentries to cast their eyes
across the stretching flats, Land Yeo wriggling

Off towards the estuary’s greyed-out islands,
Wales industrious over fast brown waves,
not quite yet the sea, still almost as strange.

It is a chafing edge of sorts, rabbits racing
over grass towards the woods, not waiting
to witness other beings cloud over the horizon.

Matt Gilbert is a freelance copywriter and blogger at Originally from Bristol, he currently gets his fill of urban hills in south east London. He’s had poems published by Anthropocene, Black Bough and Green Ink, amongst others.  Twitter @richlyevocative

Bird Strike – David Thompson

Bird Strike

A thud against patio doors;
on the other side, a sparrow
totters on matchstick feet,
striving to keep upright
like a boxer caught
by a hook to the chin.

Deceived by the glass
infringing its flight path,
it staggers on paving slabs
fighting to regain full senses,
whilst the neighbourhood cats,
claws sharpened, lurk in the gardens.

David Thompson is a poet from Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire. His work has featured or is upcoming in MagmaOrbisThe Cannon’s MouthThe Seventh Quarry and New Contexts: 1 (Coverstory Books, 2021).

Featured Publication – Dawning by Mary Ford Neal

Our featured publication for December is Dawning by Mary Ford Neal, published by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

Dawning is an uncanny landscape in which people, events, and places are charged with magic, danger, and confusion, and nothing can be trusted. Against this background of fragmentation and threat, the poems lead the reader through a tender narrative of damage, grief, enlightenment, and alteration.

Dawning is full of delicate dances with ghosts; not just the departed, but the never-were, the should-never-have-beens. Mary Ford Neal sketches these moments, of grace and sometimes redemption, with elegance and warmth, reminding us that magic can be found in unlikely places: a pavement, a coffee cup, a glance.” Rishi Dastidar

The poems in Dawning ‘boil here quietly’; with a sure use of form, they channel undercurrents of unease with a deft touch of craft and an intelligent use of white space. Meetings, departures, journeys to and from, the most brutal of truths find their home in the everyday and the strange. This is a significant debut.” Claire Dyer

Intriguingly, this collection starts and ends with the question I told the world I didn’t love you. Why? We’re drawn in to explore the intensity and often contradictory complexities of desire, intimacy, and love. Neal commands an impressive range of poetic forms, deftly capturing passion and regret with a wry touch.” Jay Whittaker

My husband is losing his shit

Previously published in Dodging the Rain

The Sea-Wife

I tried to marry a wave.

He came so softly, twice a day, bringing me gifts,
seaglass and songs,
and his devotion to me was a wonder of the world.
And over time, through painstaking erosion,
he gently shaped my heart into a small boat.

I found a ring left lying on the sand,
and knew he meant to marry me.
But next time, he came in as weak as water,
towed by an emaciated moon,
and somehow his devotion was lethargic,
and lacked the power to lift my boat and take it.

I tried to put my arms around him, vainly,
and as he washed away I tasted saltwater;
he must have wept at being made to leave me.
And he whispered, and I caught it on the breeze,
that I should place the ring on my own finger,
and take great care to keep my heart in boat-form.

And he is out there now, swirling and crashing,
his crest festooned with broken bits of boats;
then calming, gently finding foreign beaches
that remind him of the beach where he once found me.
I know how it must pain him not to find me now,

and I sit here,
sea-wife for fifteen years.

Previously published in Janus Literary

Street magic

I don’t believe in magic. But something
hovers along these streets, something
like dust not settling hangs just above
the slippery cobbles, and it’s more than
the messy flash of reflected streetlight
and it’s more than the colourful spill from some
long gone car, lying now in the gutter
as though someone had pierced a rainbow
and let it fall sighing down to die here
in the dark, by a drain, with the swollen fag-ends
and the dog urine and the spit of the loud lads.
This is something else – our shoes splash through it
whatever it is, and I swear it makes our stepping lighter.
My feet might fly, and any second I might be gone
unless I grab your arm to stop myself,
which I never would.

Previously published in Dodging The Rain

Mary Ford Neal is a writer and academic from the West of Scotland, where she still lives and works, teaching and researching Law and Medical Ethics. Her poetry is widely published, and has been Pushcart nominated. Dawning is her debut collection.

Dawning is available to purchase from the Indigo Dreams Publishing website


Relativity – Nora Blascsok


peel curls
freezes mid-air
apple puree
in mother’s hands
rest powers

tuck me in
tell me to turn
pull up my knees
hug blanket

yellow bucket
by the bed

a voice drifts
out into morning air
looking for the way home


Nora Blascsok is a Hungarian poet based in the UK. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications. A selection of her poems titled ‘Headspace’ is out with Broken Sleep Books imprint Legitimate Snack in September 2021. Her Twitter handle is @NBlascsok