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Elinor Clark

plastic animals

a plastic toucan tippled forward
banging its head on the desk

my hair no longer grew
just hung around my shoulders
fraying at the edges like the
dusty hem of an old dress
torn fern leaves beneath a
low-slung sun

i had to
squint
to see behind it

animals nosed their way through
thickets with tatty fur
staining pelts not realising
we were watching
but we were watching

in shadows stained and
tippling light
feathered arms
in the leafy shade
as the animals grew

arms and legs
and pressed on
maraca hearts
singing
songs we could
not sing along to

but we longed to sing
had to keep control

of course

the plastic toucan tippled forward
banging its head on the desk

Elinor is a recent philosophy graduate hailing from the cold and rainy North of England. She now works in London as a media analyst and lives in a tiny flat with two ghost housemates and a flourishing mould culture. She writes obsessively and has had short stories published in a number of journals and publications, including Cubed B Press, Printed Words and Creative Writing Ink.

Geoffrey Heptonstall

Nowhere in Particular
From the Labyrinth

Considering the world
is all within the walls
remade in shadow and light.
Love is always a resonance,
music of an unknown sound
to hear the song
before it is sung.

The thread of silk unwound
within the monster mouth
and down to the growl
of devouring all in sight.
Opening my mind’s eye,
I keenly feel the shadows
of a hand that searches
for the way unseen.

A confusing fear of loss
so far so familiar, the question.
that leads through prospects
of nowhere but by suggestion
named neither here nor there,
not yet free of the need
for the way of seeing
another sight of the same,
the colour of fresh wounds.
In here there are no seasons
but a recurring line uncoiled,
a trail of her thoughts to follow.

To find her before the beast within
the end of life where prowls the body,
every echo mocking the heart.
I am warned this may not go well.

 
Geoffrey Heptonstall is the author of a novel, Heaven’s Invention [Black Wolf 2017]. His poetry has appeared in many publications nationally and internationally.

 

William Doreski

Kanaya

This pale coastline is doomed
by the melting of the icecaps
and subsequent rise of the sea,
which lies paper thin on the crust
of Earth, yet imposes desires
and passions fatal to almost
every mode of innocence.

Imaginary mountains deployed
on the far side of Kanaya
will survive the oncoming flood;
but this entire ash gray plain
will become sea-bottom simple
enough for newly evolving
life forms to negotiate.

Watch the caravan pass over
this shallow river bed, taking
every step for granted, hoping
those mountains that exist
only in the eye of the artist
will shade them and supply cold
fresh spring water, safe to drink.

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His poetry, essays, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent books are A Black River, A Dark Fall and Train to Providence.

Hillary Hares

Boomers

Cat Stevens drifts down from the record player
in the flat above, plucking at the heartstrings
of the triplets, who always have more fun than us.

Our couch, stained by other transient lives, lurks
beneath its orange nylon spread and spider-plants
throw half-formed shadows from their macramé nests.

The shelves boast a fine display of Mateus Rosé bottles,
candle-wax sliding from their shoulders like silk slipping
from Bardot. The meter ticks.

The kitchen is a cupboard with a Baby Belling and a broken
plastic bin but Che Guevara turns the listless, rented wall
into a revolution.

We are all on the Pill. Everything is expected of us.

Hilary Hares’ poems have found homes online, in print and in anthologies. She has a Poetry MA from MMU and has achieved success in a number of competitions. Her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon supports Loose Muse, Winchester and Red Queen, is forthcoming from Marble Poetry in 2020.

Sarah Barr

Birthday

A day so ordinary. Everything’s been said
and written before. A morning walk.
Curled cabbages spread over the field
alongside us. Chill air, low sun.
Not much of a view because of the hedges.
Not much to say except about our friend,
so ill after a simple operation.
We can’t see what’s coming next, we say
and maybe that’s as well.
You’ve forgotten some details since last time,
so we aren’t on the route we thought we were:
never reach the iron–age earthworks
I imagined us on top of, striding along.
It doesn’t seem so far-fetched to say
that one day people like us may blow up the world
with all its potential and beauty.
I don’t say that. The words stick in my throat.
We agree it doesn’t matter which way we take.
Now, I look back at you walking towards me,
your tartan scarf, your hair glinting in the winter light.

Sarah Barr writes poetry and fiction, teaches creative writing groups and leads a Dorset Stanza group. Her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies including The Mechanics’ Institute Review, The Interpreter’s House, collections from Templar Press and the Emma Press and in The Bridport Prize anthologies. Her poetry has won some competitions, including The Frogmore Prize 2015, The National Memory Day competition 2018, 2nd in Poetry on the Lake 2018 and placed in The Bridport Prize 2010 & 2016.

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