My turn – Finola Scott

My turn

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 – Sarah Wimbush

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. 

Walrussey – Bex Hainsworth


For Wally

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.

A Mark at Sainsbury’s – Carl Alexandersson

A Mark at Sainsbury’s

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

The Sisters – Maurice Devitt

The Sisters

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. 

Dank – Rachael Clyne


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 ( explores her migrant heritage and sense of otherness. She is currently expanding this work into a collection.

Ungovernable – Abigail Flint


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.