There are days she stares
at the kettle, but can’t retrieve
ts connection to water. Or days
when the dry bristles of her brush
remind her of a cactus that flowered
every ten years, if she cared for it,
but how that brush could sooth,
re-wake her face, is lost.
There are days the phone rings,
but she can’t re-map the way
her hands could bridge a room
to open or close the tap of speech.
Sometimes, she’s forty years
back in a war-time booth,
upright among the broken
knuckles of the street,
scrapping with her boyfriend,
the moment when
the glass sides shower out
and, all around her, tenements
flower into a once in a lifetime
spasm of absurd heat.
She watches bloodied women
pour out, still in their aprons.
One carries a baby with no head,
swaddled in its shawl,
while the city settles
in ashes across her hair.
Rosalind Hudis lives in West Wales and is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing at Trinity St David, Lampeter. Rack Press will publish a pamphlet of her work in January 2013.
It’s time. Nudged by some internal clock
the first ewe shifts, distracted suddenly;
eyes on the middle distance, focussing
on something coming nearer. She avoids
the others, huddles up against a wall,
paws at the straw to make herself a nest
but can’t get comfortable; lies down, gets up,
lies down again. She lifts her nose
as if the sky has just occurred to her;
top lip curling in an effortful sneer,
stargazing. Below her tail, a globe
of amber liquid grows like a balloon
with life’s imperative: two hooves, a head,
eyes tightly sealed against the rapid slide
from womb to straw. Her birth trance snapped, she turns
and licks him; murmuring, oblivious
of the flock, which gathers as if magnetised
into a semicircle; each head bowed
in concentration, waiting for that first
uncertain, commanding bleat.
Suzanna Fitzpatrick combines freelance editing with writing, singing, and sheep midwifery at her local city farm. Her poems have been published in various magazines.
A memory of silverfish
is this all that’s left
scattering in the dark,
over home & hearth.
The other houses had cockroaches,
we had silverfish, translucent, greyish silverfish,
the other houses had bedbugs,
left on their lights
so they wouldn’t bite, so my mother said.
A proud woman my mother:
Joined the hokey cokey line
on Blackpool sands,
at Southport dipped
a low fandango.
In the ginnel
the wind listened to us.
The sun, baked the cobbles,
for what we had to say. Provoking us
into opening our mouths.
Time moves too quick;
a net with holes,
each time you come down on it,
Wes Lee lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She was the 2010 recipient of The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award. Most recently she was runner up in The Bryan MacMahon Short Story Award 2012, in Ireland.
Queenie and Violet, like butter wouldn’t melt –
petticoats starched to within an inch –
lie smooth, like snakes
warming themselves in the morning sun
on the flat roof over the kitchens.
No one can see them,
let alone what Queenie’s hiding
clenched in a fist under her belly,
not Ma at the window below,
hand clamped over the O of her mouth,
not Dad in the cellar changing the barrels.
No one will know who it was,
what evil little bugger it was
panicked the cattle on their way to the market
and now they’re all over the shop,
eyes rolling, hides crusty with dust and dung.
The women come rushing out, swearing,
scooping up kiddies –
and all the while, the wiry Scotchmen
run down the street, their dogs yapping
as the men breath curses, vowels
clotting thick as phlegm in the sharp London air.
All of it – the beasts, the men, like a tide,
like a bleedin’ invasion;
the stream of backs and horns reflected,
black and gold,
in the windows of the Home & Colonial
and in the middle the coal man,
head down, one hundredweight
of best anthracite on his back.
Julie Collar received an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University in 2009. She had poems short-listed in the Bridport Prize in 2009 and 2011 and commended in the National Poetry Prize in 2009.