Someone Else’s Dream


earth losing its shine the moon so uninspired

his thoughts a pool of mist in the sunken valley

whispered wishes where there are no wells

hills no longer rolling they simmer

tides don’t just rise they sigh and swell

horsetail fall into someone else’s dream

Silk~ is a poet.

Beyond Unbinds the Dragonfly

Kristina T. Saccone

My daughters dart in the dreg, still wingless nymphs fresh from the egg. They feed from a school of tadpoles — a feast — then molt in the algae bloom. I stretch my wings to test for an escape.

Before he visited my silted lake, I knew nothing of the beyond. He beckoned in turquoise, glistening veins vibrating in the spring shade of the pond. We coupled, his wings across my abdomen like a veil at rest, whispering about clear streambeds and unsullied waters.

In tandem, we dropped our eggs into the mire. Then, in a moment, his cobalt and sapphire vanished, gone to a far-off somewhere. The ovae, an anchor, held me here. 

But now my nymphs need blood, larvae, and the worm, not a mother who yearns for other shores. So when the kayak floats by, I drift onto its prow. I tremble with the lull of the boat before the oars dip. Together, we launch into the beyond.

Kristina T. Saccone crafts flash fiction and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in Six Sentences, The Bangor Literary Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, and Unearthed, and she curates Flash Roundup, featuring the latest releases in flash fiction. Find her on Twitter (@kristinasaccone) or haunting small independent bookstores in the Washington, D.C. area.

sunday afternoon

Isabel de Andreis

coffee is almost too
hot for my tongue the
blue of the cup too
invasive but nice I tuck
my feet under while
arching one instep
your rocking chair
rocks and rocks

Isabel de Andreis grew up in the US and Germany, and went to university in the UK. She is currently writing her first poetry pamphlet.

The Group

Jeff Skinner

We come back each week
strangers to ourselves

going round in circles
of what if, if only –

taking turns to cry
white tissues the flags

of surrender, of solidarity.
Someone to do nothing with, that’s what I miss.

I say something new happening
is worse: the return

of the rose, flourishing careers
assiduous love prepared the ground for

that letting yourself one spring morning
into the house you cannot share.

Jeff Skinner, longlisted in this year’s Briefly Write Poetry Prize, has been published in a number of journals with poems to come in the Fenland Poetry Journal and Poetry Salzburg in 2022. Third in the 2021 Poetry Space competition, he has also been published in several competition anthologies.

Re: Action

Alisa Golden

Plum tree
cut to the quick
swarming with termites

I regret
complaining about
sticky sidewalks

Alisa Golden writes and makes art in a one-square-mile, California city. She is editor of Star 82 Review, author of Making Handmade Books, and her stories and poems have been published in Blink-Ink, Nanoism, and Litro, among others.

The Crossing

Alison Milner

I say, “you are a figment of my imagination.” You say, “I don’t believe you”.

You hunch your shoulders in that belligerent pose I know so well. Your grin reminds me of adolescence, of secrets and small lies.

Your stance is territorial, in the centre of an ancient pack-horse bridge which spans a turbulent river. Stained with peat, carbonated by topography.

A dandelion and burdock Northern English beck.

You are wearing our old, cracked leather jacket, the glazing of our outer selves. Your feet planted firmly in the heavy boots whose soles inhabit ours. Their toughness empowers us. The footprint of who we are, bold and free, before I learn to tread carefully.

It is summer and the air is heavy with a cloying sweetness. The weather is hot and dry, but I see heavy rain, falling like beads from a broken chain.

Sheep graze the sky, drifting wool. White, blobbed with blue paint. Fallowing this field where colour hums yellow and purple hues. I am on the canvas of an impressionist painting and your portrait is drawn incongruously at its centre.

I squint against the searing light, and you fade into the haze. When I open my eyes wide the glare intensifies. You are still guarding the bridge, sketched charcoal-black, figurative.

I walk towards the beck seeding dandelions, the blown wishes of a lifetime. I tread lightly on clover pompoms. I do not want to scatter petals like confetti at a wedding.

 “You can’t ignore me. You can’t cross without me,” you say.

 I do not contradict you, but my legs stride forward. My trousers rustling, my trainers squeaking like mice.

“I wrote to you,” I say, “letters of the mind, tumbling images I couldn’t articulate. Sentences that wouldn’t shape onto paper.”

The flagstone bridge is slippery with spray. I do not slide as I walk through you, cutting your silhouette, onto the other side. Across the water into a field of gold.

I touch the shining silk of buttercups. I glance back at the bridge. It is empty except for a grey heron, fishing for its next catch.

Slender grasses wave in a sea of grey-green brush tips. I caress seed heads furred like kittens’ tails. Run my fingers along plumes which scatter escaping insects.

I stroke the ears of wild grain like a lover, until only I remain. A solitary woman in a wildflower meadow.

Alison Milner lives in Hebden Bridge and is inspired by the colours and contours of the moorland close to her home. Lockdown led Alison to explore internal landscapes; it created blank-page time for her to play with words. She has been published in a literary magazine and two anthologies.


Carl Farrell

“When we let that luckiness in” (Naomi Shihab Nye)

A brief allusion in a novel
Sends me off to seek a poet
While a bookshop’s Facebook page
Sends me out after another
Of similar ethnicity and heritage:
Serendipity falling
Like sudden drops of rain
Out of an open sky.

I join the pitted dots in the dust.

Carl Farrell compulsively writes short poems and occasionally short fiction. He likes to read widely in several languages, but is increasingly drawn to the lyrical and life-affirming, albeit with elements of grit. He grew up in Nottingham, where he now lives, but spent most of his twenties in Greece.

Two Photos

Fabrice Poussin

Too Far


Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. 


Abi Hennig

Take me through the procedure. One more time. Just so I’m prepared.

Make an 8-inch cut in the chest

We never bought her brand-new toys, sparing the rod does not have to mean spoiling the child. She was happy with our homemade gifts: hand-drawn top-trump cards fashioned from cereal boxes and sticky-back plastic; bottle bowling pins; sock monsters; tin-can robots with sharp edges carefully sanded soft.

Cut through the breastbone to expose the heart

And then she was three-quarters-to-six, a rag-tag mop of curls and an eye for harmless mischief which charmed everyone she met. The playdates came, and went, and came again. Birthday parties exploded in clouds of icing and glitter, knee-deep in wrapping paper, shiny to the touch, and plastic bags with plastic toys and plastic-coated lollipops that glistened sticky in the sun.

I packed her off each time with Tupperware: homemade hummus, hand-moulded pittas, cookies sweetened with honey from the hive. She returned with a crumb-filled box, a giveaway slick shimmer of sugar on her lips, eyes glazed hazy.

Stu told me to let it go.

The nights drew in.

Connect to bypass machine

She wrote to Santa in conscious cursive, looping letters into candy canes, dotting each i with a star. I peeked over her shoulder, swallowed hard, and wondered what to do.

Remove the diseased heart

‘A Barbie’s not so bad,’ he said. But Barbie’s where it starts. Next comes princess shoes and pastel-painted horses and tacky tat that’s all the same, same, same.

He said to leave it in the box, surrounded by the appendages: shoes, handbags, necklace, skateboard, teeny-tiny mobile phone.

I ignore him, focus on recycling: cut the box into playing-card rectangles, carve clear pvc into tiny stars and store them in a craft box, leave just one square spare.

I slice through polymer torso, cut a window, pop out flesh, smooth and cool, place it to one side. 

Replace with healthy heart

With nail scissors, I slice the shape: a human heart: transparent, fragile. I prick my finger and watch blood bubble, print pvc with a piece of me, place it gently in the space, watch it swallowed whole.

Close breastbone with wire, leaving the wire inside the body

Years of sewing has made my stitches neat. She will love her plastic princess and pepper her with kisses and the bumps beneath the breastbone are proof that she is extra special, with a heart that’s made to last.

Stitch up the cut

I wrap the doll in tissue paper, finish it with ribbon and a tag in Santa’s hand.

Seal with a kiss

I tuck the parcel in the present drawer, pack my bag, perch on the edge of the bed. Stu tells me I’ll be back to give it to her myself. I listen to my heart skip its beat in the dark and wonder.

Abi Hennig lives in Brighton and spends her time teaching, writing mini stories and losing gracefully at complicated board games. Her words have popped up in various places – recently in Ellipsis Zine, Molotov Cocktail, and Janus Literary. She tweets (@abihennig).

Grotto life

Martha Lane

Borrowed baubles in his pocket, he shifts uncomfortably. Pride whispers in his ear.

They’ll know it’s you.

The pub crowd jeering with yeasted breath, maybe brickies from the site. Awareness laced into their boots. Talking to his jingle-bell hat while their kids recite impressive lists, breathless and flushed, while he buckles resignation round his fake fat tummy. Desperation the twinkle in his eye, he ho ho hopes it pays enough.

A familiar weight and warmth hits his lap. The boy. On the cusp of not believing. On the cusp of understanding. Wishes for a bike, asks for a beanie.

Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her flash has appeared in Free Flash Fiction, Perhappened, Bandit, Reflex fiction, Briefly Zine and Ellipsis, among others. Balancing too many projects is her natural state. She tweets (@poor_and_clean).