Artwork by Jane Burn
Edited by Catherine Ayres
Keep your shape at least. Learn how the sky
holds flight like dust in open palms.
Burn the letters and breathe the smoke. Get dizzy,
sing like a canary suspicious of gas. Feel
the soil in your shoes, know it’s only remnants
and it’s over, or at least it is nearly.
By Zelda Chappel
Coming up for air
For now you can let me stare at this fixed point of sky, let me wish
to pull it down and hold it to my nostrils. I want to smell you, cell by cell.
It’s all about the inhale, how I might take you in. Give me air like water
so that I might drown in it, lie still in a series of deep wave washings; rising
then retreating. I could surrender now. It would be easy. But today the birds
demand attention with their nervy laughs and warnings. There is no singing
except on the neighbours radio. It’s a shame, but they couldn’t have known.
By Zelda Chappel
Take this little bird nursed in my doubled hands, churched
between braided fingers; I offer you this. Tempered for you
in the furnace of my aches, I have tried to coin a parity between
brittleness and bend; burned it to the colour of dark straw, hard
as the steel, prowling behind the blue-scape of your eyes.
Grind me under metal tracks; a Panzer hewing wasteland
under caterpillar teeth. I split my veil – bare my breast
to better take your shot. Take, eat – this is my body, broken
for you. Spire your hardness; in you I have found
a brighter blade to push against.
By Jane Burn
First published in the Black Light Literary Magazine
Stone and words
She said there were words on the stone,
so we looked carefully,
hoping to see the sign of a chisel,
of runes or Roman shapes,
but we marked merely
how light glanced from fractures –
it had come from the river
smashed down among boulders
to its present face.
By Sally Evans
From the window
the air is dark,
the current gone.
Leaves gather water
from the sky’s wet face
as the clouds constrict themselves,
while children sleep, unblemished,
and the trees applaud,
imbued by their own resilience.
By Jenny Hope
Song to a November sunrise
You rolled out of a hemisphere,
pulled up evening’s bloodied skirts,
magicked a body of stars, for this.
Morning is a band of fog.
Haar gallops. You are pale as a lost child,
pressed between its ghosted flanks.
Yet the birds have found you;
the sea whispers afternoons.
The world has turned. Don’t fret.
By Catherine Ayres
worms caste gifts at my feet
cattle ruminate over me
cut their teeth on my meadow mind
churn memory to green froth
ransacked by wind
I dissolve into heaven
ease into the endless.
By Rachael Clyne
My father fought A war Years before My birth
As I grew up
I watched him Fight it Again and again
His sinewy hands Trembled
As he pried apart Venetian blinds Scouting the enemy invasion Of our suburban neighborhood
Armed with a bottle of juice A newspaper
Or any other munitions At hand
Holding his ground Paralyzed
By his reality
By Lea Forslund (with an accent on the e)
If Ink Was White
My death is inevitable
And I stare at pixel
Clouds because forgetting
Is living there.
The horizon is bleak
Yet I still staple my hands
To the table out
Waiting for unchanging things
By Luke Taylor
There’s a whole row of nothings
before you get to anything.
Not binary. You can see
the point. A fraction
A thousand billionth
A measurement: wide
as a proton. Small matter
you and me, a couple
of nothings trying
to be something
By Gillian Mellor
Previously published in The Fankle no.23