Artwork by Jane Burn
Edited by Beth McDonough
Deciphering the sea for my baby
She is the expanse we feel slipping through our digits
proved in the gritty scratch of displaced sand and shingle
clattering like our neighbour’s wind chimes. The clarity
of cold will pull you up sharp, refresh you, draw strong
breath. She’s a simple march, a heaving sigh, a scream
between two caves. She talks, just listen—there are stories
she needs to tell, distances that do not end at fingertips.
Get in close and she’ll gift you salt without you knowing
cause lips to scale soft until your tongue makes contact
and tastes the alkaline, longs for vinegar. She’ll stuff
your nostrils full of her, sting, bring tears that are not sad
but roll and catch the breaking spray. She’ll draw you in,
hold you as she holds me—ceaseless, motioning, wholly.
By Zelda Chappel
(first published in Girl in the Dog-tooth Coat ,Bare Fiction 2015
What was lost
Inside me are white boxes,
made of exhalation
paling like snow I grab for
the inside of one
before I lose my self
in each, a label:
almost falling on me,
weightless, their after-image crushes me
(a swift grin slides past. I duck)
By Louise Larchbourne
My grandchild looks ahead
searching for puddles.
In pink wellies she balances –
chubby legs shake on pedals.
My hand’s at her back
to navigate depths.
I sense a shiver of Dad
……………….his loosening grip on my saddle
……………….struggles to keeps me in line.
…………..Roses bud and blush, toffee
…………..sun freckles my skin,
…………..fork-tails flash and dart. Eyes on
…………..curves, I push into Start-rites
…………..step up a gear and soar
…………..to skinned knees and lycra.
…………..All of us
By Finola Scott
You gave me an apple tree
from past love.
I planted it on the lawn,
fussed around it
as if it were newborn,
and when to prune it,
the high winds
that might lean it
from thin branches
to make the others
grow large and firm.
You gave me an apple tree,
the perfect gift,
into the future
like pollen on bees.
You gave me an apple tree
but I maintained my distance
because roots in the earth
are one thing,
but those that delve
in skin and flesh
scars and bruises
are quite another.
By Dawn Gorman
First published in Mend & Hone (Toadlily Press, 2013), and subsequently in Soul of the
Earth (Awen Publications, 2010)
I created tribes wherever I touched down,
dipped in and out of other lives, built
scaffolding with food and laughter.
You chose life with children, fenced
your harvest, seed and field,
reported on arrivals and departures.
I never felt the touch of infant fingers
on my summer legs, the handshake
that will take my daughter’s heart.
The songs of public life weren’t yours,
you never understood the thrill
of brief affairs at conference.
You didn’t have the freedom, I the ties.
We’ve never lived each other’s fate,
the right to judge was never ours.
By Kathy Gee