Grandpa, seven years I’ve watched you part the flesh of fish, gouge skin until it gapes with gills. Your chopsticks trip over fins, scale the dish for a bony rim. Then it is quick: the sudden plunge, the pluck of a ripe eye. “He eats them to cure his blindness,” mother explains as she clears […]
There is a hole in the mountain. I have been watching from my porch as it gets deeper, wider. The trees go sliding downwards uprooted, grumbling in the way only very old trees grumble at having to relinquish their chosen spot to an impudent stranger – – Like this hole. Still the cavern grows, and […]
My fingertips gathered the rain Held in milky measures the sad reluctant drops more anaemic than sea water for her. Awkwardly she twisted her tiny hands around my palms scavenged the liquid from my skin which clutched her to my clothes to dry. Sand clung to hair ground crunchily in our teeth salt and sharp […]
under lost/found column a bird small yellow talking answers to joey please call you mourn that empty cage i cry for the one who didn’t escape who took nine years to reach paradise even in death trapped not in dried cat faeces or soft winter leaves but underground in a tin box the lid tighter […]
I am dead. They will find me poised in creaky elevation, heart empty but for three business men. Shabby suits from out-of-date lives, last voices. My last seconds. I heard those mutters so many times before. It wasn’t my fault. I was a kaleidoscope once; plush and mirrors that cotton print girls dreamed through; at […]
As a baby I said nothing as the sun Flowed into my eyes and the wonder Of the “too big to even think” world Was beautiful. It was left undefiled Until I began to speak I cut out photos from magazines And made a collage of the world That I taped across my window. I […]
His toes curl, determined as the slugs in his mother’s vegetable patch, the boy raises his arms. The creamy sunset illuminates his muscular figure. He inhales deeply, pushing his diaphragm downwards like he’s been taught, so that the butterflies in his belly are shrunk to playful moths. He springs, agile as the spindly-legged frogs in […]
I am old now and I have lost all my teeth. I remember my oiled catskin, the mousey smell of it, the scarfing nape of it and the girlish shame of passing kittens and gentlemen in the street. I tried it on again once and I was glad you didn’t look to see that I […]
Reflections on an Acquaintance’s Travel-Map Compact, like an old anatomical plate. Block capitals, thin as stitches, lace together your stops with names, foreign and plump like the names of bones: uvula, fibula, tibia. Moldova, Kirovskaya, Belarus. They sprout from a fine, black vertebra, curved like an old man’s, slashed with dashes like the stumps of […]
Mud traipsed through your living room, Dirty, smelly, unholy, corrupt Sweet brown mess, all over your cream carpet. I’m a dirty country lass in a fouler city. My tangy words slaughter and kill your “Correct enunciation.” Squinting you ask Me to repeat myself, slowly. But I’m a dirty country lass in a fouler city. The […]
a friend just told me that her one-year-old sister’sboyfriend’scousin choked. to. death. shortly before his mother went into labour with (what would have been) his new baby brother. before slipping blankly back into the dulling lukewarm wash of the everyday, I thought it only right (but nothing more) to write some words which will never […]
I once dreamt of wearing a gasmask leather, crackling. It was so thin and yet it didn’t break. I didn’t pull at it or tug, but I breathed it in and yet didn’t smell anything. There were sirens and a table and an anderson shelter. I didn’t like the smoke and bombs. A baby in […]
Avert your gaze from his eyes, even if they plead for you to be drawn to its depths. Instead focus on his sallow complexion the sun crawling on his aged skin, the colour of the well-trodden carpet in your living room; the spot where your son once threw his football boots and you missed bleaching […]
They lift her by her corners. Dusting her with the soot of flight, They wing-beat, blind – Into the crevices of the evening, Carrying the baby spine. At first they looked for antennae When she was found curled next to the mother. They looked for the stump of wings To teach her to soar But […]
china hides in the creases of your hands, they sing as oia dies with the sun. and midnight is some paler rose – of chlorine and cold tile, it is breathless.
I’ve got a slight red spot in the fold of my palm – a puncture wound perhaps, from a wasp and the edge of a rail which I obtained in the yard of a school I never attended. And afterwards, without a doubt, there you must have laid your lips.
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005. Richard’s poetry has been published in n+1, Fuselit, The Literateur and The Financial Times, among others, and appears in the anthologies Best British Poetry 2011 and The Salt Book of Younger Poets. He is joint editor of Thirteen Pages.
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005 and 2006.
Jay Bernard is from London and works as a writer and film programmer at BFI Flare (London’s LGBT film festival). They are the author of three pamphlets, The Red and Yellow Nothing (2016), English Breakfast (2013), and Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl (2008), and have been featured in numerous anthologies and magazines, including TEN: The […]
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005, 2006 and 2007, Charlotte has been published in The Salt Book of Younger Poets and Stop Sharpening Your Knives 3 & 4. She was poetry submissions editor for Pomegranate, an online magazine that showcased poets under thirty.
A winner of Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2005. Alice has been published in The Mays, Cadaverine and Acumen.