Kittiwake

Karen Macfarlane


Above the plastic-cluttered high tide line
there’s an empty pair of wings. Probably
a kittiwake, with feathers of pearl grey,
ink-dipped and grafted to a stub of spine.

The rest of what made it a kittiwake
is gone: the head and lungs and crying call,
but nothing wants these two wings. What would? All
the world knows that only the birds can make

anything of them. A sudden gust flips
them over, the wind knowing well how to
lift this structure it evolved. They leave two
scoops in the dry sand, symmetrical dips

like those corny angels I made with you
in the snow. At least it’s something to show
for what was left; but even that will blow
away. The wind knows how to shift sand, too.


Karen Macfarlane lives in Perthshire and spends as much time as possible letting Scotland’s coast and islands inspire her. She is studying for a BA (Art & Humanities) with the Open University. Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in various magazines, including Poetry Scotland and Spelt.

Elegy for an Elm

Frank William Finney


How can I read
the empty space?

Fewer leaves
to rake next fall?

One less place
to hold an owl?

One more sign
of one less spring?


Frank William Finney is the author of The Folding of the Wings (Finishing Line Press). His poems can be found in Journal of Undiscovered Poets, The Metaworker, Tiny Wren Lit and elsewhere.  He is a former lecturer from Massachusetts who taught literature at Thammasat University in Thailand for 25 years.

Imperceptible

Frances Boyle


In the warm dry night
a wind carries the new scent.
I strain my senses,
imagining leaf colours
not visible to me now.


Frances Boyle is a Canadian author, whose third poetry collection is forthcoming in fall 2022. Her earlier books include two poetry collections, a novel and a short story collection. Her writing has been published throughout North America and internationally. Frances lives and writes in Ottawa.

Only do NCFE English Level 2

Tracey Pearson


if you enjoy
bone crushing boredom
and writing imaginary letters
to imaginary councils
about imaginary ice
on imaginary pavements.
Imagine how easy life
would have been if you’d
managed a C at GCSE.


Tracey Pearson is a poet and flash fiction writer from Newcastle upon Tyne. Her work is published in print anthologies, magazines and online. Tracey’s recent writing appears in Culture MattersDreichSelcouth StationVisual Verse and Poetry Wales.

Out of Eden

Kara Dunford


Endometriosis overwhelmed my body, pervading
the garden of my organs with its angry weeds.

Surgery came, and it reaped all that it could,
leaving me to feel the void, to water
the empty plots with my tears alone.

The world wanted me to be the gardener: to sow, to nurture, to tend.
The world expected my harvest.

Like Atlas, I held up the sky, shouldering
the cosmos’ disappointment as I fell short
of the way I’m supposed to be.

Perhaps someday I’ll forgive the stars.
Perhaps someday I’ll grow a flower, maybe two, in the garden of my worth.


Kara Dunford (she/her) is a writer living in Washington, DC. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Brave Voices Magazine, Fahmidan Journal and boats against the current, among others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Overtly Lit. Find her on Twitter (@kara_dunford).

Untitled

Lena Barton


All of this is no more significant

than the trace of a lizard

on a cold stone. 


Lena Barton is at university reading Russian and is currently working on a collection of translations of early 20th century Russian poetry.

Unhinge the World

Michael Penny


by taking the door off
and removing open and closed

getting a handle on things
by having no handle.

Walk through the frame
that’s empty for passage

but full of destination.
Once done, there’s no shutting

and you have to take it all
whatever is and was

and you, so present.


Michael Penny was born in Australia but moved to Canada at an early age. Since then he has published five books, and he now lives on an island near Vancouver.

Mulhacén

BT Barra


Death came from below, we know that now – with hindsight it is obvious.

In our simple-mindedness we believed that the earth was the past, the sky the future,

and that if we could just eat rocks, we could stay on the mountain and never come down.

Note: The third line contains a partial and adapted quote from the subtitles of Sara Dosa’s documentary film Fire of Love (2022).


BT Barra is a visual artist and poet living in Leeds, West Yorkshire. A recent Art History and Creative Writing graduate, he works for the Henry Moore Institute in a number of capacities, including as a Curatorial Research Assistant. His work often explores the intersections of poetic and visual practices.

Outside broadcast

Matt Gilbert


Once, when fleeing from myself, I was arrested by a magpie,
as it dragged some almost dead thing, towards a cherry laurel hell

Stood there rapt, attentive, in a park, rising over Brockley,
gripped beneath the trees, by a routine, nature thriller

The conclusion of another creature, must-see box-set in a bush,
against which, my troubles paled, changing channels, I went home.


Matt Gilbert is a freelance copywriter, who also blogs about place, books and other distractions. Originally from Bristol, he currently gets his fill of urban hills in south east London. Twitter (@richlyevocative).

Two Poems

Ben Keatinge


The Airport Road

With the treatment over
I drove in a tunnel
towards the airport road –
the terrible frailty of parting.

A distant terminal
another road to town
I grip my phone –
the sudden jolt from home.


Homecoming

Back home now in Ireland
my past’s a future which has disappeared
meandering   fleeing   lost
I search the road near Štip looking for Manastir.


Ben Keatinge is a Visiting Research Fellow at the School of English, Trinity College Dublin. He is editor of Making Integral: Critical Essays on Richard Murphy (2019) and his poems have been published, most recently, in The Dalhousie ReviewReading Ireland and anthologised in Local Wonders: Poems of Our Immediate Surrounds.