seals’ dreamtime – Martin Potter

 

readier to roll about

than to drag seal-bulk

shingle-crunch climbing

the beach’s skirts

 

haul and lay their mass

press on the pebble bed

a bay’s broad outscouring

they bask the lull

 

when a pair of helpless eyes

pitch-bright in bristled snout

ratchets round in meeting

yours with sea-thoughts

 


Martin Potter (https://martinpotterpoet.home.blog) is a British-Colombian poet and academic, based in Manchester, and his poems have appeared in Acumen, The French Literary Review, Eborakon, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Poetry Village, and other journals. His pamphlet In the Particular was published in 2017.

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Palm Civet – Rahana K Ismail 

 

To Úrsula Iguarán

 

A mouth gnawing at the cemented floor.

The tail a sky of shadow. Between niches

mousing, a scratch of claws. Two eyes

planetting the room

 

of my conscience. Guilt can take on

many forms. As a hole

in the sprawl of air. A hole

that housed

 

a spear. A throat it makes around it.

A head it wedges in, the mesh

of bone and body it zeroes in on. The hand

that weaves into esparto grass.

 

Walking as a man does, sad

and searching

until you haunt courtyards

for the open faucet, or floorboards

for the ticking beetle,

or the telling heart in spite.

Ever since grandma told me, a civet cat

 

knocking over boxes of what I have

squirreled in my head.

 


Rahana K Ismail is a poet and doctor from Kozhikode, Kerala. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Penn Review, Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English, nether Quarterly, Contemporary Haibun Online, Usawa Literary Review, POSIT, Io Literary Journal (Refractions), The Alchemy Spoon, Paradoxlit, Farmer-ish, Poetic Sun, Chakkar, Alipore Post, Aainanagar, Hakara, Verse of Silence, EKL Review, Pine Cone Review and elsewhere.

Who I’m Really Thinking About When My Grandaughter Assumes I’m Missing Her Grandfather and Gives Me that Soft-Sweet Look – Diane D. Gillette

 

I remember Rita in her pink kitten heels, her hair coiffed up in a lavender helmet, her lips leaving ruby stained proof of her existence on my neck. She tasted like merlot, and sounded like the sigh after a storm. I remember the pretty way she danced around my living room to the Nat King Cole record she brought over. Her hips entranced me, and I pulled her back on the couch so we could make love all over again. I remember the way her gardenia perfume settled into my pores for days after she was gone. How I could feel her skin under my hands, soft like butter, for weeks, for months, if I just closed my eyes and thought about her. I remember the taste of rain in the air when she drove away. I remember thinking that no matter what she said or believed, she’d come back. I remember finding the wedding announcement from the newspaper. Or rather, it found me. A manila envelope with no return address. No note attached. Just the announcement, snipped and clipped so sharp – a papercut right to the heart. It said the bride had been beautiful. But there’s no way Rita could have been as beautiful as she had been dancing in my living room.

 


Diane D. Gillette (she/her) lives in Chicago. Her work is a Best Small Fictions selection. Her chapbook We’re All Just Trying to Make It to January 2nd is available through Fahmidan & Co. Publishing. She is a founding member of the Chicago Literary Writers. Read more at www.digillette.com.

Compassion for the Undertaker – Charlotte Cosgrove

 

His feet press gently on the pedals

More pianist than driver.

The black hearse slows to the church

An inkblot spreading on white paper.

He opens the door for the grieving

Remains solemn as duty expects.

His eyes look down at pebbly gravel

Feels it within him as if made of concrete or hard minerals

Ready to decompose into the ground.

It has been just a week since he returned

After his compassionate leave came to an end.

 


Charlotte Cosgrove is a poet and English lecturer from Liverpool, England. Her work has appeared in Trouvaille Review, Dreich, The Literary Yard, The Broadkill Review, Wingless Dreamer, Confingo, Beyond Words and various anthologies online and in print. She is editor of Rough Diamond poetry journal. Her first poetry book Silent Violence with Petals will be published with Kelsay Books in June 2022.

always yours – Lisa Reily

 

after Renoir’s Dance in the Country

 

spring days 

under the chestnut tree

I remember well,

cups of tea and cake

chocolate mousse

raclette with sweet wine,

and you.

across the table 

you in your handsome blue suit,

I waited for your eyes

as snails drowned in garlic butter

and music played.

my dress to catch your glance,

I hoped its pretty flowers

would bring you to me;

but the music caught me another,

and I was swept away.

hot breath in my ear, silky words of love,

his hat to the floor as 

we danced,

pressed against one another,

my gloved hands in his,

while all the while,

it was you that I wanted;

my smile

was always yours.

 


Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry has been published in several journals, such as Amaryllis, London Grip, The High Window, Panoplyzine, Channel Magazine, The Fenland Reed, as well as Foxglove Journal. You can find out more at lisareily.wordpress.com.

Morning cat – Demi Lloyd

 

He basks in morning beam.

The sofa cradles, heart pulsates.

He watches me, charmed eyes.

Work at 6, haven’t slept.

I call in sick and stroke his head.

 


Demi Lloyd recently gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. She is part of a poetry group based in Nottingham called GOBS and is working towards her contribution to their spoken word showcase in March. In her spare time you can find her reading, listening to podcasts or thinking about cats.

Bewildered – Ann Pedone

 

What is the body in the eyes of the body

is it nothing more than a translation

of water salt and air

an alchemy of blood and sand and lust

bones fragile anxious within

muddy flesh the nervous

desire of hips

bewildered

that you are still not here every

 

day I put my feet down one in

front of the other a child would

say that this should be enough

but the heavy box of the body asks

 always for more.

 


Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from UC Berkeley. Ann is the author of the chapbook The Bird Happened, and the chapbook perhaps there is a sky we don’t know about: a re-imagining of sappho is forthcoming in December. Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper, and The Phare, among others.

Exmouth – Edward Alport

 

I took my problems to my old friend, the sea.

He watched me with his flashing eyes

And spoke to me with seven foaming lips.

I poured out my problems

And he poured them right back again.

 

Now that I’m sitting, like a stone on a rock,

Now the beach-huts are deserted,

And all the lovers have gone home,

He’s still there;

He’s still there;

The still small voice

Of endless noise,

Wearing at my loneliness.

 

 

Edward Alport is a proud Essex Boy and occupies his time as a teacher, gardener and writer for children. He has had poetry published in a variety of webzines and magazines. When he has nothing better to do he posts snarky micropoems on Twitter as @cross_mouse.

Yellow Ribbons – Pene Morley

 

The newspaper did nothing to stop the cold seeping from the wooden bench into Steve’s bones. He hugged his anorak tighter around his shoulders and tucked his hands under his armpits. Swapping that old blanket for a tin of baked beans had been a bad idea.

Shoppers, muffled up in coats and scarves and hats, trudged to and fro in front of him. Most ignored him, but some watched him out of the tail of an eye as they passed him. He wanted to grab them and tell them, ‘I was like you once, before I went to fight your bloody war’, but he knew they wouldn’t believe him; they never did.

A woman hurled a half-eaten burger into the bin at his elbow, and he eyed it for a moment before snatching it up. Then he noticed the girl staring at him, knock-kneed, gripping a plait in each hand as though she thought her hair was going to fly off.

‘It’s for my dog,’ he said, nodding to where the lurcher was curled up among the carrier bags at his feet.

The dog raised its shaggy head at the sound of his voice, and he tossed the burger between its paws. It snapped it up.

‘What’s his name?’ the girl said, edging closer.

‘I don’t know. I call him Bob but he’s not really my dog; he just follows me around.’

‘Can I stroke him?’

Steve nodded. The girl bounced down on to the ground at his feet with a grin, and the lurcher stretched out his neck to sniff her mouth, his tail thumping the pavement.

‘My dog’s called Scruffy,’ she said, giggling and squirming as Bob licked her face. ‘I got him when my daddy died but nobody can see him; he’s invisible.’

Steve crumpled up the burger bag and chucked it into the bin. Not having a dad must be tough on the kid, but you wouldn’t know it looking at her now. She was holding Bob’s ears up like butterfly wings and chatting to him about everything and nothing. Steve was about to ask her about her dad, when a slip of a woman rushed up and grabbed her by the shoulders.

‘How many times have I told you not to run off like that, Anna?’ she said, pulling the girl on to her feet.

Anna twisted in her grip. ‘I just wanted to see that man; I thought he was daddy.’

The woman’s body slumped, like a puppet no longer in play. She glanced over at Steve, exasperated, and for an instant he thought her tired eyes were pleading with him for help.

Then she tugged at Anna’s arm. ‘Come on, I don’t want you bothering him.’

‘But he’s got a dog,’ Anna said, digging in her heels, ‘and it’s real.’

‘I don’t care.’

‘And he’s got no laces.’

‘What..?’

Her mother stopped pulling her arm and turned to Steve. She studied his cracked, unlaced army boots and then looked back at Anna, frowning.

‘Remember when Daddy’s laces broke and he used my ribbons to tie his trainers,’ Anna said. She smiled at Steve. ‘Would you like my ribbons for your boots?’ She knelt at his feet. ‘I think they’ll look ever so pretty,’ she said, threading her ribbons through the lace holes.

Her mother gazed at Steve as if to say, ‘I’m sorry, about her’. He grinned at her, and she reached down to stroke Bob and hide the flush of colour that had appeared in her cheeks.

 

 

PM bio picPene Morley lives in the south of Germany with her husband, teenage son and two Labradors. She discovered very short stories on Twitter over a year ago and now tries daily to do one of the writing prompts. Since then she has also started writing flash fiction and is writing a novel which she hopes to have finished soon. You can follow her on Twitter @PeneMorley.

Foal – Anthony Watts

 

On Thorncombe Hill

I saw the world

 

balanced

upon four saplings

 

itself-begetting

in the dew of the foal’s eyes

 

who whinnying

down nostrils newly bored

 

printed upon that

immemorial quietude

 

his infant sneeze.

 

 

Anthony Watts - head & shoulder portrait (3)Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for about 40 years. He has won 26 First Prizes in poetry competitions and was longlisted for the National Poetry Competition 2014. His poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Salzburg Review, The Rialto and Riggwelter. His fifth collection, Stiles, is due to be published by Paekakariki Press. His home is in rural Somerset and his main interests are poetry, music, walking and binge thinking – activities which he finds can be happily combined.

Tornado – Robert Beveridge

 

The tornado

whispers across

the green lake

 

heads for your eyes

so that when I kiss you

your body splatters me

with droplets of jade

 

 

20160903225845_IMG_2924_20160903230828315Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. He has recent/upcoming appearances in New American Legends, Toho Journal, and Chiron Review, among others.

where we are – Spangle McQueen

 

we can only start from here

no blaming the illness

myself

or all the others

just start here with the breath

where the succulent’s still

unplanted

and the sunshine soothes an aching temple

and turquoise sky fills my mind

bliss

a neighbour bangs on the window

for attention

the black cat slips off the fence

I open my eyes and wave

reset the clock

start again

focus on the breath

try to stay in the moment

while an ice-cream van

is playing the tune

about a pony

a feather

macaroni

 

 

20171019_233122-1Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and hopeful poet living in Sheffield.

Fox – Paul Waring

 

Out on a night

like this

you swagger

aloof

star on stage

under diffused

orange spotlight.

I see you sashay

soft brush tail

lithe limbs

quiet as a whisper

across grass

as I close

my fourth floor window.

You look up

as if you know me

bat-ear surveillance

and dark adapted eyes

aimed like arrows

into mine.

 

 

IMG_6036Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist who once designed menswear and was a singer/songwriter in Liverpool bands. He is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee whose poems have been published in Foxglove Journal, Prole, Amaryllis, High Window, Atrium, Algebra of Owls, Clear Poetry, Ofi Press, Marble Poetry, The Lampeter Review and others. Find more at https://waringwords.wordpress.com.

Death in Spring – Ben Banyard

 

She took her last breath as we put the clocks on.

Lambs, daffodils, Easter eggs, cheerful optimism,

but a funeral to attend and relatives to console.

 

We’ll Google the church’s car park,

agree to work around that afternoon with bosses and clients.

Follow the coffin in, glance at riotous banks of grape hyacinth.

 

There will be hymns.

All Things Bright and Beautiful no doubt,

The Old Rugged Cross, perhaps.

Choke back a lump in the throat at the eulogies,

smile with damp eyes at anecdotes.

 

What will move us most are the details of her youth,

how she played nicely with her sister sometimes,

what her parents did for a living;

Spring details, when her life was beginning.

 

 

ImageBen Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, UK. He’s the author of a pamphlet, Communing (Indigo Dreams, 2016) and a full collection, We Are All Lucky (Indigo Dreams, 2018). He blogs and posts mixtapes at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com.

Concentration – Ben Banyard

 

It’s hard, here in orbit,

not to be able to hear

the simultaneous hum

of all those minds at work.

 

But it’s far harder to imagine

that this orb contains

all of the love and fear

for as far as eyes can see.

 

 

ImageBen Banyard lives in Portishead, near Bristol, UK. He’s the author of a pamphlet, Communing (Indigo Dreams, 2016) and a full collection, We Are All Lucky (Indigo Dreams, 2018). He blogs and posts mixtapes at https://benbanyard.wordpress.com.