Pod Issue 3

48 label disclaimer 267xxu

Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Beth McDonough

Second Coming

Until that point,
this coming was gentle,
lingering. The rhythms
accompanied the after-dinner talk.
The men artless, unknowing.
The women complicit in their memories.

Until that point,
order prevailed:
measured breaths, an arranged body
coyly apologetic for its
nakedness, indignity and
mottled whale belly.

Until that point,
when the hook and twist—
unleashed the flood
that raised my body, limbs flailing,
white knuckle clutching
to stay earthbound
–dragged you screaming out

womb wound, sleek and curled.
My scent clings to you—you cling to the world.

By Jane Baston

Changing Seasons

Narcissi bloom in miniature, in multi-coloured pots
beyond the fresh-cut sandwiches, the pizza, pasta,
spit-roast chicken. Remembering your delight
when Tête-à-tête and Angels’ Tears broke through
the snow-squashed grass at Pennine Close,
I choose a pot and place them in my basket
with your favourite fruit: bananas, pears
sweet clementines. Next day I walk
to Inwood House, dial in the code – one oh six six –
to spend an overheated hour with you.
You wake when I come in; you lift your small, round face,
receive my kiss, my hug. Your smile is fractured,
half-toothed, behind thin lips.
I leave the fruit inside my bag; it’s close to lunch
and you would eat the lot – spoil your appetite
as years before you’d not let us spoil ours.
Instead I place the pot of tiny flowers beside your chair.
And while I talk to you – describe the uphill walk,
the chilly wind, the cloud streaked sky – you reach out
knuckled fingers, stroke the petals, lift the pot.

And with a single bite, snap off a head, begin to chew.

The mother now, I reach inside your mouth, try to catch
the yellow head, the green and spit-streaked stem. A twinkle
in your eyes; you sink your teeth on searching fingers.
As I retreat, you swallow.
Later, walking down the drive I feel the pain,
my fingers blooming purple as the budding crocus.

Soon to be published in the NHS anthology A Creative Map of the Health of the North.
By Angi Holden

Back to Earth

She who loathes the stripes of bees,
who high-pitch screams at spider crawls,
who shudders at the slug’s wet trail,
ant-stamper, snail-cruncher, chopper-up-of-worms,
finds a beetle trapped on its back,

Moved by those helpless kicking legs
she searches the garden, finds a sticky fern:
it can cling to this,
rotates it back to earth.
That afternoon she will interrupt
her running, jumping, digging;
stand still to watch over,
check it’s still ok.

By Claire Walker

First ride

I fretted in the rear while he chauffeured,
urged him to slow the hell down a dozen times

on the three-mile journey, kept checking
the seat belt next to mine, that it was clunked

and taut, strained to hear inaudible breaths,
worried about the dog, how he would greet us

when we arrived home, hoped a neighbour
might spot us as we manoeuvred you out

of the back, carried you up the path, so proud,
as if no-one on earth had ever done it before.

By Sharon Larkin Jones


We are editing old video tapes,
re-recording them onto disk.
A tedious chore. But there you are,
age six, with Mark from next door
in his grey duffle coat, feeding ducks.

You take stale bread from beige bag,
toss crust to mallard (brown, female).
And this is where we freeze frame,
as you turn to camera, return to us,
ruby cheeked, amethyst eyed.

By Sharon Larkin Jones




1 thought on “Pod Issue 3

  1. Pingback: Back to Earth | Claire Walker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s