Slowly folding Mum curves towards foetal pebble knuckles clutch the bathroom sink
Her bones now brittle weary from holding the looseness of her belly so often baby-taut
Time-faded freckles hoard her long summer days, shrivelled teats remember my touch.
As I soap the flannel I feel the tug of return. She bows her head accepts this is her time.
Finola Scott’s work is published widely, including in The High Window, Prole and Lighthouse. Dreich publish her recent pamphlet Count the ways. More can be read at FB Finola Scott Poems. Finola enjoys zooming, cakes and blue tits, not neccesarily in that order.
Between Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and My Class Enjoys Cooking
there’s Modern Practical Cookery. Rebound with Bero paste and bedsheet ribbons, you relax on the eBay table, glad of the rest from all that standing.
Unused for years but read, shelved, read, you remain on the kitchen shelf. Each splodge, each blown stain amber on your frosted cover –
pages so brittle, if I let you slip you would smash across the tiled floor: Contents, Hors D’oeuvres, Empire Recipes; Woman’s Own snippings –
orange sellotape unsticking cuttings, paper thinned from a million finger turns: Tripe and Onions, Semolina Soup, Christmas card bookmarks,
a paper rose, marginalia: ‘my curry’. Each time, you bustle in reeking of a thousand crumbles, gingham housecoat, bombs, birthdays, talc. Kisses
Sarah Wimbush has published two pamphlets: Bloodlines (Seren, 2020) and The Last Dinosaur in Doncaster (Smith|Doorstop, 2021). Her first collection Shelling Peas with My Grandmother in the Gorgiolands will be published by Bloodaxe in 2022.
They say that you dozed off on an iceberg and awoke on Irish shores, a Nordic visitor without a horde, lonely wanderer, far from your arctic home. Child of ice mountains, you have ridden these Celtic currents for months, travelling south, strange sun-pilgrim. They say that you are lost, gorging yourself on Cornish clams, preparing for a return journey, but your continental visits are inscrutable. Fingertip of Nuliayuk, you bask on beaches like the discarded glove of an old god, with your leathery hide, you are your own luggage. Seafarer, you did not pack light for your odyssey. Rolling in the snowflakes of the seafoam, you nose boulders with grizzled whiskers, snuggle into rocky crevices, coldsick, exiled, missing the sounds and smells of the herd. They say that you came to the harbour seeking company. At night you bob among boats, mourning your lost brothers, and watch the stars in a black sky, wishing for a green, kelpy flicker of the aurora borealis. Perhaps you are a scout from a melting world, a tusked omen, disaster warning. Dear walrus of wanderlust, moustachioed philosopher, you are all of us, floating in an ocean-universe, with no choice but to go on seeking.
Bex Hainsworth currently teaches in Leicester. She won the Collection HQ Prize as part of the East Riding Festival of Words and her poetry has been published following commendations in the Welsh Poetry, Ware Poets, Beaver Trust, and AUB Poetry competitions.
it was by the bananas and then again reaching for a loaf of bread that we were told to step apart. covid guidelines, of course, but the straight couples could shop away—
there are times I forget that our lives will progress like this: glass doors shutting between us at every other building.
I am tired, Mark. you made me remember just how much.
Carl Alexandersson (he/him) is a queer spoken word poet and writer, based in Edinburgh. He was selected for the BBC Words First programme in 2021 and his work has been published in Ink Sweat & Tears, Capsule Stories, Impossible Archetype, and more. Twitter: CarlAlex97 Instagram: caarlalexandersson
After the other guests leave, you are alone with them, and, in the minutes it takes for absence to settle, you plump up the cushions on the settee, stoke the fire – seeking refuge in the crackle of sparks – and wonder what direction this might take. Neighbours and friends for years, there was that gnawing silence the last time you met, a silence you just couldn’t explain. Yet, when you invited them around, they were quick to accept. Now, turned towards the fire, you sense their eyes on you – the burr of a cleared throat signalling a conversation that could go either way.
Maurice Devitt: Curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site, he published his debut collection, ‘Growing Up in Colour’, with Doire Press in 2018. His Pushcart-nominated poem, ‘The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work’, was the title poem of an anthology published by Hibernian Writers in 2015.
One word can hold everything you need to know about the stare of sheep from sodden fields
about the cronk of raven through fog a dog straining its leash the mud-brown coat of its owner
about luminous moss down the middle of a lane the sepia mash of leaf that plasters its edges
about bleached sedge that echoes with toot of coot chitter of wren a dead branch that arches and dips into a ditch
Rachael Clyne’s collection, Singing at the Bone Tree (Indigo Dreams), concerns our relationship with nature. Her pamphlet, Girl Golem (www.4word.org) explores her migrant heritage and sense of otherness. She is currently expanding this work into a collection.
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.