Take Ten Issue 1


Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Catherine Ayres

Dear Girl

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


Bird Blade


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


Left Field


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



Mind’s Eye


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
Of boredom

Waiting for unchanging things
To transform.


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 quadrillionth

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

24 thoughts on “Take Ten Issue 1

  1. I have only read poem 1 – Dear Girl – by Zelda Chappel. It is such a treat and spoke directly to me. I shall leave it to fly around my system for a while before sipping another one. I agree with Mandy – that first poem is a drop of pure magic. I wait with baited breath to read on! x


  2. How fantastic! I hereby vow to keep shape, stare at the sky, take the bird, look carefully, imbue resilience, not fret, dissolve into heaven, watch him fight, wait for the transformation and try to be something. xx


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