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Rosalie Alston

Heron

Through the train window
across water meadows
I see you again
so still in the grey
contours of air and water –
ghost, visitation and holy fool
hear silent prayers
in half-beat rhythms of driving rain
soft and alone
I see your shield of fog
I will cry out when you kill.



Rosalie Alston grew up in the countryside and now lives in the city.  She likes wandering around, writing poems and participating in community poetry groups.  Rosalie has facilitated writing opportunities for adopted young people in the South West. She has had poems about adoption and child migrants published in anthologies.

Gill McEvoy

Opossum

Sticky-out hair like a badly made brush,
tail like a rat, snout like a hog,
rough-tough-nasty to the touch,

peculiar feet like hands wrongly placed,
you didn’t come high
in the Beauty Queen stakes!

You keeled over sideways until you were lying
full stretch at our feet
as if you were dying.

We got an old box, lined thickly with straw,
and lifted you in. Dead-weight as you were,
we did not feel sure

that you were now truthfully,
actually dead.
Oh, you had us fooled!

What an enactment! What a great trick!
We’d not found a heart-beat, nor felt any breath;
your show of departing was perfectly slick,

and neither in cinema nor on the stage –
where-ever they might try to re-enact death –
had we ever seen dying so perfectly faked.



Gill McEvoy was 2015 winner of the Michael Marks Award for her pamphlet “The First Telling” (Happenstance Press). She was awarded a Hawthornden fellowship in 2012.  Published by both Cinnamon press and Happenstance Press. She lives in Devon.

Sheree Mack

Herring Gull

As common as white bulky clouds,
they eat almost anything, with their sharp
yellow bills with red spot, like blood.

In my ignorance, I labelled them all the same.
Seagulls. Because I saw them at the coast.
But when their wailing and yelping

moved in land, mum would say,
it must be rough at sea. In my ignorance,
I labelled them bullies and brutes

deserving of all the violence that befell
their grey winged bodies. Perhaps,
their increase in numbers and size

is due to a readily available supply
of edible refuse, of waste, or human error?



Sheree Mack is a Creatrix living on the North East Coast of England. She facilitates visual journaling workshops, nationally and internationally, supporting women in their exploration of their authentic voices. She is currently writing about traveling and working in Iceland as well as the next instalment of her creative non-fiction memoir. More of her work is available at livingwildstudios.com.

Unfolded by Olivia Dawson

As an added extra, today we celebrate the release of Olivia Dawson’s debut collection, Unfolded. Available from today, Unfolded is the 19th publication from our friends at Maytree Press and again features original cover art from Alice Parker.

A wonderful debut collection uniquely themed around a collection of exotic and mysterious fans where Olivia gently weaves together a series of intimate portraits as though the words were themselves revealing a secret message on the leaves of a fan.

Unfolded is now available direct from Olivia or online from Maytree Press https://maytreepress.bigcartel.com/

Mantelpiece

Sometimes I display a fan
of glossy invitations showy

as peacock feathers,
or my Rolling Stones badge

pinned to a shrivelled rose
for a conversation piece.

Once I laid out family photos
but they disturbed the space

curling like cellophane fish
in the heat. Today a naked figurine,

round as Botero’s ballerina, poses
between two bowls with silver rims,

a screen of dust dims their reflective glaze
which only shows glimpses of me.



Still Life with Chocolate Pot

Matisse owns a chocolate pot –
treasured wedding present, drop-bellied,
squat, with a walk-on part

into interior lives.
It poses as a curvy vase
alive with silk flowers

or hides in the design of a tablecloth
like an optical illusion,
sometimes it takes centre stage,

duckbilled on three splayed feet.
Recast as a paper cut-out
the pot looks for its finest angle

jaunty behind a neon apple
then goes missing
to return as a smaller version

of itself, where it lurks
in the background, lopsided,
unsure of the applause.



Olivia Dawson, originally from London, now lives in the Sintra hills near Lisbon, via Paris and Rio, where she worked as an EFL teacher. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is the Poetry Society Stanza rep for the Lisbon area. Her poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies including Magma, Poetry News, Under the Radar, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Time & Tide (Arachne Press), The
Chronicles of Eve
(Paper Swans Press) and longlisted for the National
Poetry Competition, shortlisted for Paper Swans Press Pamphlet
Competition and shortlisted for the Poetry on the Lake Competition. Unfolded is her debut pamphlet.

Catherine Edmunds

What Breathes

A penguin has moved in with me.
Tired of the bitterness of seas,
it longs for a walk in the woods,
and wails when I demur.

I pick it up and it shakes with anxiety.
The house hums
as an underground train passes,
I hold the bird close,
feeling its body, its warmth.

We look through the window.
A man cycles by pedalling furiously.
Alright, says the penguin. Alright.
You can take me back now. I’m ready.

But later that night, I can’t stop crying,
and long for the ocean, white bones, blue fish.


Catherine Edmunds is a writer, artist, and Irish folk/rock fiddle player. Her published works include two poetry collections, five novels, and a Holocaust Memoir. She has been Pushcart Prize nominated three times, Bridport Prize shortlisted four times, and published by journals including Aesthetica, Crannóg, and Ambit.

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