Poem in Which She Always Leaves

00000000a bacon sandwich on the kitchen table,

a message in ketchup beneath its upper rung of bread.

00000000In which I swallow whole the note and never know it’s there.

I spell I’m sorry with sodden clothes, with smiling too long and flower stems,

sorry on my mistakes, all of them, as they are happening.

00000000Poem in which my mother is maddened, not disappointed.

00000000Poem in which all my mothers are maddened: the old ladies

smoking at bus stops, scanning bacon and bread loaves at Tesco,

under flapping umbrellas in King’s Cross and High Barnet. Poem in which

I forget my umbrella, am not a failure and my mothers,

all of them, are pretty and called Margaret.

00000000In which the rain spells their name on me

and dry patches of escarpment.

Wayne Holloway-Smith

poem in which i eat porridge for breakfast

if it’s not winter but it feels like it / we wear
ourselves out to get into it
an elbow caught where the neck goes

spices not to taste but they dry
what would otherwise rot – what’s left
of sweetened tea & cinnamon sticks

a bowl of grains in wool. a breastplate
of oats rolled from one pit
to the other / the grammar that only holds us
so that we don’t know we’re held

the tight swirl of red, a clump
is the heart / a sweat before the sun’s up
although it’s been said many times

many ways / what’s left of all of us
is the base / the grain
that we season out

Charlotte Geater

Poem in which I am at stake

Sign blind,
windows before roof,
heart over mitts.

And wilfully missing the point.

And a making a wave
in the wrong direction.

And courting burn-up, an aviatrix dropping
bombs in soft air.

Leagues away, he is cutting out shapes,
passing them round.
I take it
he is also at stake,
in the cool part of the house.

And I laugh at myself without much
of him to laugh through.

Lakes of him aside, this is what I pretend
to much prefer: the volcanic heart pump,

plane like a lute
likely to flame.

Nia Davies

black poem (in) w(h)itch moth

ghost flutter                                wing reflex
fist ripples                        in stoma/ch/asm
expectant                               in autumn air
rolling black                            backf/lip/ids

nocturnal spinning                        in which
a fairground                     is a waiting room

summer day                                   flash flood
polka dot                                                oil slick
heavy feathers                           treacle beak

in which                         the words are stuck
darkness rotates          in/voluntary waltz

Sarah Crewe

Poem in Which You Ask How You Can Tell Real Pearls from High Quality Fakes

Ultimately does it matter if the pearls are real
or not? The earth is a pearl, blinding and flawed
nestled inside the mollusc of the Milky Way.
Do you prefer your pearls cultured in the art
of oology, or simply coated in fish scales?

Check if you must, where would I start to look
for your realness? By prodding your cheeks
perhaps, holding your eyes against the light,
taking a sample of your speech for testing,
cataloguing evidence of feeling in your tone.

Claire Trévien

POEM IN WHICH CAPS LOCK IS USED

SOMETIMES WE LIKE TO FORGET OURSELVES
IN THE DARK DEEP SPACE OF CINEMAS OR
SOMETHING SEEN OUT OF THE CORNER
OF A MIRROR AND WE REHEARSE A FEW
LITTLE LINES LIKE A MYNAH BIRD – WHOSE
OWN TOOTLING IS FORGOTTEN
AMONGST THE SUSHI CONVEYER BELT OF PHRASES
EACH SO NUTRITIOUS AND RAW PACKAGED
DELICIOUSLY ON RED BLUE YELLOW
PLATES – ONLY REMEMBERING THE QUESTIONS
ASKED OF IT IS JACK A GOOD BOY WHAT SOUND
DOES A DOG MAKE WHO IS SO PRETTY RIGHT NOW
AS THE CAGE GROWS DARK WITH THE SHADOW
THE OWNER CASTS IT CHIRPS BACK JACK JACK
GOOD DOG GOOD DOG WOOF WOOF WOOF

Alex MacDonald

POEM IN WHICH THERE IS A SILENCE

there is a silence

the silence is a quotation

the quotation is from Agamemnon, a play written in 458 B.C.E.

the play is about a woman murdering a man

the woman’s murder is predicted by another woman: a mad woman

the mad woman will not be silent, she remembers

the remembering happens to everyone except the man who is murdered: he has forgotten

the forgotten thing is:

And on her lovely mouth—

to check the cry that would have cursed his house—
he fixed a bridle.…
for she used to sing to them around her father’s table,
blessing their libation in her pure girl’s voice—

0

what happened then I did not see and cannot tell.

the telling is done by Anne Carson, two and a half centuries after the silencing

the silencing is a curse, and is full of curses

the curse is these lines, spoken ten years after the man murders his daughter; a thousand lines later, the knife falls on him, the one he raised on his daughter

the daughter is alive in the silence

the silence is the poem

Sophie Mayer