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George Muir

St Francis Xavier’s Hand Travels Nova Scotia

Like the new skull of Lucy’s predecessor
St Francis Xavier’s forearm and hand

are making a comeback are causing a sensation
as they travel first class air across the woodland

of Nova Scotia. The poor dead saint and his
body part detached now living a life of its own

like the history of the humanoid his ancestors
from trees to caves to fields to farms

coming out of the wood to see the arm
waving to the Catholic crowds

those of us who wish the relic good health
on its journey back into our world

and remember the bones of an old cat found
beneath the porch of the summer cabin

the perfect skeleton left by devouring ants
left like a sacred artifact in the mind

of the ancestral child carried on its back
to the stars or the heaven

full of the secrets of the simple continuation
of the human race.

George Moore is the author of Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016). His work has appeared in Poetry, Arc, Orion, the Colorado Review and Blast. He lives with his wife, also a poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Sanjeev Sethi

Mist

It seems I have sealed the sensations
of your touch as down payment of
an address we could never own or
occupy. White heat and the ensuing
calenture have lapsed. Emblems of
affinity are like the sky: always there.
Intimacy breeds indifference, in its
own way it keeps us knit.

 

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. He is published in more than 25 countries. Recent credits: The Sunday Tribune, The Cabinet of Heed, Amethyst Review, Talking Writing, Packingtown Review, Abstract Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

 

Daniel Bennett

Field Party

The sweet trace of fodder
on the breeze, the acid
of spilled cider. Occasional cars
tearing up the air, like the invites
none of us had received.
I don’t even remember a house.
What signal set us heading out
to ooze like summer starlings
feeding on insects in the sky?
Perhaps some cipher in the blood
pumping a miasmic code
of hormones, a double helix
of nascent lust and the promise
of a few hours of freedom. Now,
well past the days when I look
for any such social communion,
I think of that night not to mourn
lost youth, past days, or recapture
the toothy kisses on a dark verge
or the grimly porny excesses
of a girl, drunk out of her mind,
offering an act far beyond
anything I could allow myself.
I think of my father dropping me off
at this obscure point in the night,
and driving back to town alone
clocking the passing miles
and the earth’s inevitable curve.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including The Manchester Review and The Stinging Fly. His first collection West South North, North South East is out this summer from The High Window. You can read more of his work online at: https://absenceclub.com

 

 

Sheila Jacob

The Old Back Garden

It served as allotment during the War,
still boasted gooseberries, rhubarb
and a row of blackcurrant bushes.

Dad struggled to tame the long grass
with a new mower and rake but T.B
left him weaker than he realised.

Chickweed advanced, nettles stung
and I blew dandelion-clocks, made
daisy-chains, arranged white clover

in water-filled jam jars though Mum
warned it would wilt and turn brown
like the buttercups I held under her chin.

Blackcurrants took a day to collect
in a metal pail, I knelt beside Mum
but she said I mithered her too much.

Later, while she bustled in the kitchen,
I tiptoed out again, mushed stray fruit
into my mouth and purpled my lips.

 

Sheila Jacob lives in Wrexham, was born and raised in Birmingham and enjoys writing about her ’50’s childhood. She recently self -published a short collection of poems about her father, who died when she was almost fifteen. Her work has been published in several magazines over the past three years.

Beth McDonough

In the invisible garden,

February smirrs on grassed squelch,
which is not.
Our soles feel rock.

Upstart bulbs snout green
from themselves, but hide activities
under beechmast and mud.

Beside bishopweed’s unfettered strength
in curled albino lines,
we find no white in mire.

From shilpit sticks, from softs of moss,
slips of lichen grow. The label says
‘Hibiscus. Blue-flowers’. Who knows?

 

Beth McDonough’s work connects strongly with place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims, foraging nearby. Her poetry is published in Gutter, Stand, Causeway and elsewhere. She reviews at DURA. Handfast (with Ruth Aylett) investigates experiences of autism and dementia. Lamping for pickled fish will be published very soon.

 

 

Gordon Meade – Zoospeak

Hyena, Europe, 2015

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact,
as is my snout – no scars.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact,
as is my snout; no scars
visible along its length.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact,
as is my snout; no scars
visible along its length.
My ears are intact.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact,
as is my snout; no scars
visible along its length.
My ears are intact.
I hear every word you say.

My ears are intact.
There have been no chunks
taken out of them.
My ears are intact,
as is my snout; no scars
visible along its length.
My ears are intact.
I can hear every word you say,
but my eyes are dead.

 

Burrowing Owl, Denmark, 2016

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me
to dig myself a burrow, nor enough sky.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me
to dig myself a burrow, nor enough sky
for me to open up my wings and fly.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me
to dig myself a burrow, nor enough sky
for me to open up my wings and fly;
all things having been considered.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me
to dig myself a burrow, nor enough sky
for me to open up my wings and fly.
All things having been considered,
what I could really do with is a bowl.

Somehow, I have not managed to make it
underground. Instead, I am standing on a branch
attached to a sawn-off tree stump.
There is not enough earth here for me
to dig myself a burrow, nor enough sky
for me to open up my wings and fly.
All things having been considered,
what I could really do with is a bowl
of water in which to drown my sorrows.

 

Walrus, USA, 2011

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed
to do; been able to capture.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed
to do; been able to capture
my existence as it is.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed
to do; been able to capture
my existence as it is
now and, also, the world.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed
to do; been able to capture
my existence as it is
now and, also, the world
from where I came.

I am so happy to have
been made a part of your work
of art. It is so clever
what you have managed
to do: been able to capture
my existence as it is
now and, also, the world

from where I came;
and all of it in a single shot.

 

Gordon Meade is a Scottish poet based in Fife. He divides his time between his own writing and developing creative writing for vulnerable people in a variety of settings. His most recent collection, The Year of the Crab, was published in 2017 by Cultured Llama Publishing in Kent, England.

 

About Zoospeak:

All three poems are taken from a series entitled, Zoospeak, which takes as its initial inspiration the work of the Canadian photographer and animal activist, Jo-Anne McArthur, especially as represented in her most recent book, Captive.

 

Noel Duffy

Lunation

The cycle is complete. I look down at you, the silver
cross on your neck rising and falling as you sleep,
the blood moon’s crimson in the curtainless window
tangled in the autumn detail of bare branches.
A dog barks as if sensing the sky’s disturbance
and my own. I leave you there to my lingering mistake,
sneak quietly down the dimly lit landing
to the staircase and the hallway that leads to the kitchen,
the whiskey that waits in the cupboard,
falling again by trapdoors in every choice I make,
the promises I made to you but could not keep.

 

Noel Duffy was born in Dublin and has published three collections to date with Ward Wood Publishing, London. A fourth collection, Street Light Amber, will appear in autumn 2019. He was the recipient of the Patrick & Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in poetry 2018. For more information about Noel and his work visit: noelduffy.net.

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