Charge Nurse – Helen Kay

Charge Nurse

Helen’s pamphlet, This Lexia & Other Languages ( was born in 2020. She curates a project supporting dyslexic creatives. She is known on fb for her diva hen puppet, Nigella. In 2021 she was a finalist for the Brotherton Prize. Website:  fb Helen Kay twitter: @HelenKay166

Her joiners – Helen Kay

Her joiners

do not have vans. They grow in pubs.
They arrive in their own time, need three cups of tea.
They stub out their fingers with hammers,
letting beery blood mark out their lines.

Her joiners don’t eat; she puts out cheese butties
and they hop round the plates like spindly robins.
They fill her house with their music: Snow Patrol,
Black Sabbath, fill her with a lonely awareness,

and Polyfill the cracks between her floorboards
over hairs, crumbs and skeletons of flies.
They know all the pipes and wires, the veins
of her home, these men who live on bar stools.

Plaster shakes off the walls and their lives
season her kitchen, spoil her dusting routines.
She puts out Battenberg and crisps and their hands
stop dithering and dance their amazing skills.


Helen’s poems have been accepted by magazines including Stand, The Morning Star and Rialto. Her debut pamphlet, A Poultry Lover’s Guide to Poetry, was published in 2015 (Indigo Dreams). She was runner up in the High Sherriff’s prize for Literature (2016).