Mary Franklin has had poetry published in numerous print and online magazines and anthologies including Bonnie’s Crew, Ink Sweat and Tears, Iota, London Grip, Nine Muses Poetry, The Stare’s Nest and Three Drops from a Cauldron. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As terrible chain
As foot nailed to floor
As hand in larger hand
As hand stopping
all the balloons from being gone
Natalie Shaw has a kind husband and children of varying sizes. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies, most recently Strix and Butcher’s Dog. She was commended in the 2018 National Poetry Competition.
Sandmartins, Kelham Island
As if machines at rest
as if gorging on espresso
as if practising unwelcome faith
as if sizing up a property
they bet on stone
industry slumped, curled into curiosity
factory smells twisted into neighbourhoods
mills morphed into apartments or museums
the speculators eyed rates of return
hipsters scented coffee and craft beer
and in a draughty hall saints spoke in tongues
as if all this were not the action
as if they know the clock is running down
as if conscious of a sixth extinction
as if connected to a slower rhythm
they bet on stone
The Mermaid with a 12m Tail
Landlocked near Keele, a naked mermaid
is perched on top of a white lorry trailer –
the M6’s equivalent of a smooth wet rock.
Passing too fast, I’ve no idea what she’s meant
to advertise with her plastic pose, only
the weird impression of a trailer as her tail.
And the other trailers? Those creatures beached-up
in shadowed laybys, their guts spilled open,
like Jonah’s whale but no sign of the girls
trafficked across borders, ports, oceans…
Does it feel like hope, this land
of petrol fumes, unpaid work and bartered flesh?
The naked mannequin sits in silence on her lorry.
Sarah James is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Author of seven poetry titles, two novellas and a touring poetry-play, she has poetry featured in the Guardian, Financial Times, Bloodaxe anthologies and The Forward Book of Poetry 2016. She was Overton Poetry Prize winner 2015 and her recent titles How to Grow Matches(Against the Grain Press, 2018) and plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press, 2015) were both shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Award. Her website is at http://sarah-james.co.uk.
A Long-Awaited Angel
He longed for the snow he’d read stories about:
a white dazzle that renewed the landscape.
The new ice rink in Harare opened too late for him.
His adopted country only had one season: winter.
Warmth faded as he learnt the difference between
drizzle and mizzle, and how damp embraced.
He dreamt of catching snowflakes on his skin,
a carpet of desiccated coconut softening
the hard lines of concrete and bare trees.
He rubbed his eyes at the blanket of sequins
that had fallen and rushed out to touch, to taste,
to fill hungry sight, hear the crunch under his feet,
then slipped onto his back, arms and legs sprawled
to make a rough angel. He didn’t know
if it was her or the snow that shivered him.
Where do I even start? I am a hoarder
of hate, a madwoman squeezed
between tottering piles,
a caver in my own home. That over there –
don’t touch – is every single thing
my sister-in-law ever said. And here
are the minutes from Faculty Board
the year I made Reader, not Professor.
As for when the seventeen million
voted to deport me – that generated
a fair amount of paperwork.
It may look a mess, but that’s because
I still go through it, every day.
Other things are a bit more remote –
under the bed, mixed in with the dust mites,
you’ll find transcripts of Mrs Ainscough
ticking me off, and of Vanessa who said
I’d never get a boyfriend. To be honest,
I haven’t looked at those for years,
but it’s good to know they are there.
Annette Volfing is Danish. She has lived in the UK since 1982 (and obtained British citizenship in 2017). She is an academic. She has published a chapbook (‘Ecliptic’) with Black Light Engine Room. Her poems have appeared in a number of magazines.
From the future
We are their past, and just
as we look back––
on crinolines and slavery,
the South Sea bubble,
stays and periwigs,
the drowning of witches,
how flat the earth is––
the future will look down
on all our proud invention