The Rabbit Woman – Kitty Coles

The Rabbit Woman

A dry day, the mouth closed on itself,
shrunken for want of water, and the sky
cloudless, the stomach clenched
on its own emptiness
and the stubble drifting from cornfields
clogging the throat, jabbing the eyes
with the its spindles: such thick dust!

A rabbit, gaunt, flits out from under the hedge,
its gait half-drunken from the ovenish heat.
I launch myself at it and my head’s pain
lurches and rolls, slamming against the skull.
My legs are heavy and my hands too slow.
It vanishes. My belly twists and rolls.

That night, the sheets asweat,
I dream of that bunny.
It lies across my lap, listless and pliant.
It is plump, now, padded with flesh
that will fall from its bones,
that will nourish me,
with its richness, after simmering.
Its black eyes glimmer like liquid,
doomed and tearful.

I awake wet-lipped and hungry.
I see stars
flying like midges
by the open window.
I am sick with longing and bloated
on its substance.
I tremble to let my teeth
meet in that absent meat,
to make that wild blood run
on my avid tongue.

In a month, I birth a litter.
They come raw, unfinished,
slips without eyes or fur,
a creel of red prawns.
They writhe and struggle
so briefly – poor kits –
then lie still,
unfit for life,
malformed by the hunger that bore them.

 

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in 2017. www.kittyrcoles.com

Advertisements

Lost – Zoë Sîobhan Howarth-Lowe

Lost

You look lost;
like the ground beneath our feet
is new to you.

Like you expected to find frosted earth –
instead of what has always been there.

You speak with the dipping
clarity of a snowball fight – scooping up words;
flinging them at me;

yet you look shocked when I hurl them back –
breaking them open
letting them disintegrate in front of you.

You look lost;
like the girl breaking out of your arms
is new to you.

 

Zoë is a Poet and Mum from Dukinfield. She has an MA in Poetry from Bath Spa University. Her work has appeared in Magma, Atrium, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Bonnies Crew and Picaroon amongst others.

Enough – Jean Atkin

Enough

This is the place where she slipped
off her shoes and went walking.
She went far upstream where the clouds are ripped.
This is the place where she slipped
out of the life she’d had – she leapt –
left the cooker on and the dog howling.
This is the place where she slipped
off her shoes and went walking.

 

Jean Atkin’s new collection ‘How Time is in Fields’ is forthcoming from IDP in spring 2019. Previous publications include ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’ (Oversteps Books).  Recent work appears in The Rialto, Magma, Lighthouse, Agenda and Ambit.  She works as a poet in education and community and is currently Troubadour of the Hills for Ledbury Poetry Festival. www.jeanatkin.com

Absurdism – Megan Pattie

Absurdism

The more we arrange the strange things people give,
the more I’m Alice falling down the rabbit hole,
big-eyed with bafflement while objects continue
to rise up and move around me. I’m overseeing
clothing-rails that sway and burst apart, cascading
tops and jeans and skirts and coats and jackets,
shoes that walk away from one another, scarves
and bags that vanish, mannequins that grab hold
of my name-badge, a giant squid-like monster made
of tangled jewellery, more books than shelves, films
that will take you to the end of time to watch, music
no one will ever listen to, a bright orange novelty
nut-grinder in the shape of a squirrel, hundreds
of spoons, a mug with its handle on the inside,
and one kitchen utensil nobody knows the use for
but we’re selling for 50p and answers, mess, a table
of toys that looks like a torn-up technicolour cubist
painting, cameras, frames, Chinese charms, old coins,
furniture we’re running out of, and when all of the
wonderful things are gone, we’re left with plastic
tubs, wooden spoons, cut glass trinkets, hideous
ornaments, plates, everything nobody wanted, and—
“That’s a new donation on the counter. What’s in it?”
“It’s just a telephone wrapped in a pair of trousers.”

 

Megan Pattie was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2009, and her work has appeared in several online and print publications since; including Eibonvale Press’s Humanagerie anthology and Ink, Sweat and Tears. You can find her on Twitter @pattiepoetry.

Symptoms of a worn ball bearing – Julian Dobson

Symptoms of a worn ball bearing

Noise is a classic sign. Here are some indicators
of worn bearings or other wheel-end damage:

Snapping, clicking, popping. Grinding while in motion.
Knocking, clunking. Humming, rumbling, growling.
Uneven wear. Abnormal side pull. Shudder.

That jolt. It’s when we’re broken, dried,
you pay attention. How we lump into your life,
become a constant source of irritation.

You forget smooth-rolling years. Forget our steel.
How we carried you for miles.

 

Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield. His poems have appeared in publications including Magma, Under the Radar, and Acumen, and on a bus in Guernsey.

Mindstrap – Hannah Linden

Mindstrap

Don’t be mard, she’d say.
You’d reckon she meant mardy:
spoilt or irritable

but she meant soft
inadequate, a weaklin.

She ated children
blatherin, cringin.
Physical pain were
a deformity
and we were marred by it
by default.

She were clever like that –
she could take summat ugly
an ide it in Lancastrian
like Everyone felt the same
round ere – like all o words
conspired against us
a mindstrap for
frangin, maitherin kids.

It’s not fair – it’s leather
a menacing wink, a chuckle.
Don’t be mard: future’s hard
always one step’s too loose –
spare the rod and th’as sprung the noose.

Either way we were marred by it
by default. She were clever like that.

 

[ed. ‘fair’ in Lancs pronounced ‘fur’]

Hannah Linden is published widely, most recently with Magma, Lighthouse, The Interpreter’s House, Domestic Cherry and the Humanagerie Anthology, as well as on several online webzines. She is working towards her first collection. Twitter: @hannahl1n

Speed trials Hogganfield Loch – Finola Scott

Speed trials Hogganfield Loch

Hooking the wind, they rush
whoosh, claim the space, name it.
Joggers glare, miss beats, consider
evasive action.

Speed isn’t all. Style counts.
The grace of velocity, the angle of curve,
strategy of deceleration. Celebration
of corners.

Swans, Granny!

True to their name the birds whoop
as they swoop the loch.
In a linen-sheeted glide,
they’re down, feet flapping water.

My grandchildren brace, stabiliser balanced.
Pink helmets cradle
baby-bird bones. No steadying
hand at their backs.

 

Finola Scott’s poems are in many places – Gutter, Ofi Press, Firth . A competition winner, her poems are in The Blue Pen’s Chapbook  December ’18. Finola enjoys reading in unusual places including Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Scottish Parliament.

Potato Harvest – Ali Jones

Potato Harvest

Once, we hid moons in earth,
reaching down to sable loam.

Now, tines shy, lifting gently,
we begin to gather them in.

Hauling up, bundles of small satellites,
Dark drops. Another moon floats up

between branches of cherry.
Small moons bring night home,

geosmin, thick and dense, a full tide coming in,
held in canvas beneath polished granite.

They wait to ghost up again, to rise
through fire and water, in cauldron dark pans.

 

Ali Jones’ work has appeared in The Interpreter’s House, Proletarian Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, Snakeskin Poetry, Atrium, Café Writers, Laldy, Green Parent magazine and The Guardian. Her pamphlets Heartwood and Omega are forthcoming with Indigo Dreams Press.

Depressed Penguins Make Recovery – Ian Stuart

Depressed Penguins Make Recovery

We’re fine now. Thanks for asking.
White chests and black tail coats,
we look like waiters in some posh hotel.
Three times a day we go through our routine –
the comedy walk-on in perfect sync –
then dive in, one by one, and swim
to the ice floe
made out of cement
which never melts or grows.

They throw us chunks of frozen herring –
always the same but quite nutritious –
and laugh to see our antics.
Sometimes they clap their flippers in delight.
It is nice to be appreciated.

They’re very needful of our welfare.
Even the herring
has a special tang to it these days.

Yet even now, some nights,
huddled with others on a concrete floor
I still hear great bergs crash together
see distant sky shimmer,
feel the ice
sharp under my claws.

No, honestly. We’re fine.

 

Ian Stuart is a writer/performer in York. He has had work accepted by Dreamcatcher, Obsessed with Pipework, Selcouth Station and other poetry outlets.
Last October he had  “Quantum Theory for Cats” published by Valley Press in Scarborough – see link below.

Saturna – Katerina Neocleous

Saturna

Under a bare bulb
in a windy metal shed
we’d sort and pack
our back breaking harvest,
dug out of the loam.

Once, a pair of rabbit kits
– amorphous as potatoes
or clay clods – slid past us
on the conveyor’s rollers,
shuddering untouched

until the end of the line.
Nobody knew what to do
with them, it felt unlucky;
as though we had taken
too much from the earth.

 

Katerina Neocleous has been published in various poetry journals, most recently in Obsessed With Pipework, and Algebra Of Owls. For more of her work, please visit visionsfromhell.wordpress.com