It goes without saying

Jason W. McGlone

You don’t count on ever

having to explain to your
          10-year-old that you can see
her depression peeking through
          the curtains,

that you recognize
          its face because it’s the spitting
image of your own 

unwelcome companion.

Jason W. McGlone‘s work has appeared in Potluck Magazine, The Metaworker, Sledgehammer Lit, Imperial Death Cult, and is forthcoming in The Orchards Poetry Journal. He makes music under the name Mourning Oars, holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, and lives in Cincinnati with his family.


Kris Spencer

You do not have to
climb the sycamore
bending the thin branches
to see the shopping bag
beaked and twined
into the dark nest.

Just think of the rainwater,
held and pooled,
that chilled the turquoise eggs;
and of the magpies
with their cackles,
never born.

Kris Spencer has written seven books. He has been published in Acumen, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Orchards Poetry Journal, Fenlands Poetry Journal, The Balloon Literary Journal, Nailpolish Stories, Bluepepper. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a Head teacher living and working in West London.

Alone Along the River

Louella Lester

Louella Lester is a writer & amateur photographer in Winnipeg, Canada. Her Flash-CNF book, Glass Bricks (At Bay Press) is just out. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Daily Drunk, Dribble Drabble, The Odd Magazine, Shorts, Grey Sparrow, Six Sentences, New Flash Fiction, Spelk, and a variety of other journals & anthologies. Louella’s blog, Through Camera & Pen, can be found here and she posts photos daily on Instagram (@louellalester).


Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya

I barred the windows and the doors
Yet, so, I feel exposed by the roof –
As though the east wind stirs
& sings like a hummingbird to
The house and makes it move.

It rains outside & the dotted sands,
Like poets, interchange syllables
& rhythms with the skies –
Slights of waves & gestures.

The air smells of period clouds;
Pieces of raindrops turn the street
Into an earthly river and the streetlights
Dance to the rainy screams.

Najeeb Yusuf Ubandiya is a young poet from Nigeria. He is a loner who writes to find out what he thinks and feels – about himself and the world around him – and to keep his purpose awake and breathing. His work has appeared in Ngiga Review, Blue Marble Review, Riveting Rants and is forthcoming in other literary magazines. You can find him tweeting (@najeeb___X).

You Haven’t Changed At All

Daniel Addercouth

You arrive home from work one Friday afternoon to discover a surprise party has been thrown in your honour. Dozens of people emerge from the living room into the hallway, holding signs, laughing, greeting you. A woman plays an accordion. It’s the wrong time of year for your birthday, so the party really is a surprise.

As the initial shock subsides, you realise the guests are all people from your past that you’ve lost touch with. Your best friends from primary and secondary school. An English teacher you were fond of. Flatmates from university. The man who owned the pub where you worked. The professor who mentored you. Various colleagues from various jobs. Every woman you dated before your ex-wife.

As they come to chat to you, you struggle to remember names. Everyone has aged. You wonder who arranged this and how they got in touch with all these people when you don’t even have their contact details. But you don’t have time to think about that because people are bringing platters of food from the kitchen, opening bottles of beer, offering you glasses of prosecco.

You might have expected resentment, anger. After all, it was you who dropped many of these people. You who didn’t return a call, didn’t respond to an email, didn’t get in touch when you visited your home town. There were neglected wedding invitations, unattended birthday parties, missed school reunions. But everyone is pleased to see you. They apologise for not being in touch, as if it’s their fault. They sing your praises to other guests, trade anecdotes casting you in a positive light. People embrace you, slap you on the back. Old girlfriends flirt with you.

It’s a great party, but then everyone starts leaving at once, as if they’d pre-arranged an end time. There are more hugs, jokes and stories as people make their farewells. Everyone wants to give you their contact details. Your thumbs get tired from tapping email addresses and telephone numbers into your phone.

The crowd thins out until there are just a handful of people left, then two, then one. Eventually you have said your last goodbye, hugged the last friend. You close the front door, open a final beer, sit down on the sofa and take stock. So many memories, so many emotions. So much affection and, yes, even love.

You take out your phone and scroll through your contact list, which has doubled in size. Then you go through the list again and delete each new entry.

Daniel Addercouth is a Scottish writer and translator based in Berlin. This is his first published story. Follow him on Twitter (@ruralunease).

Retired Park

Abbie Madigan

caramel trees stutter on the Japanese proverbs:

swaying in the broken English sunshine before the

massacre of the third season.

A sign hidden in the moss

“Do not climb”

Abbie Madigan is the world’s greatest pre-posthumous poet and a beleaguered civil servant. Somewhere in the North of England. Of childbearing age. Unpublished – until now.



cloudassassins is a Scottish photographer focused mostly on nature and landscape photography in black and white or colour. Find out more on Twitter (@cloudassassins).

Looked Away

John Tustin

When I was a boy
and I saw that man
beating his dog

right on his front steps
under the sun
and its vivid light

I was that dog
when I saw it

and I was that man
the moment
I looked away.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals in the last dozen years. See his website for links to his published poetry online.

A Song of Rivals

David Harrison Horton

The saddened stalks of cornfields
before the burn off
hold tight their death-row reveries.

Think of the universe, says the professor,
as a bad Tupperware container:
all that mess,
but no leaks.

The Tin Man’s arm is in need of oil.
Dorothy isn’t in the mood today.

This buffalo only has three legs,
and would make a good obverse,
sitting in a pocket,
waiting for war.

David Harrison Horton is a Beijing-based artist, curator, editor, and writer.

A bilingual tanka in Irish and English in response to street art in Amsterdam

Gabriel Rosenstock

labhrann strainséir liom
bloghanna dá chuid dánta
(focal nó líne)      
     ní bheadsa im’ bhean chabhrach     
     cad a theastaíonn uaidh a rá

strangers speak to me
pathetic fragments of poems
(the first word or line)         
     i’m no midwife for their poems         
     what is it they wish to say

Gabriel Rosenstock is a bilingual poet, tankaist, haikuist, playwright, novelist, essayist, translator and short story writer. His sixth bilingual volume of tanka is Secret of Secrets. See more on his website.

Photo: Wikimedia