by Jacklyn Irwin
I climb on top of my huge,
a horse called ‘Cricket.’
He is warm
and I can feel his body
moving and flexing
under my legs.
I feel his power
but I am not afraid.
He carries me carefully
along pathways in nature.
I love it
when it rains
softly on us both.
I feel connected
to the living energy
of the world.
Thank you, Cricket.
You give me joy.
Jacklyn Irwin was a non-speaking young woman who belonged to the Sunshine Coast Writer’s group and The Brotherhood of the Wordless. Her work has been published in anthologies of both groups as well as Prism, A collection of Contemporary International Poetry. Creative writing was a great passion of hers.
by Rida Zulfikar
/ sau- li- tiyude /
[Noun]: a hitch in birdsong ; error in autumn
“In silence, music / is heard louder, i press my / ears to my pulses”
Reflection | egg splitting | drumbeat | weight of water in my eyes |
|drumbeat | reflection traces waves in my hair |
| oh, drumbeat |
|emotion and reason | drumbeat |
| I am split into two |
| alone || alone || alone||
1) the waves bring back dead corals; can I please go back home?
→ remember, foot crushing grass
→ remember, paper cutting clean through skin
→ remember, hands clutching each other alone
2) and so what does it take to break an orbit?
→ blood seeping on glass-threads
→ the cobweb succumbing to the brush
→ planet whizzing by, lost.
3) and so when does a reflection look back at you?
→ edge-cutting words, heavy words, words i dress myself up in
→ between lips, dead butterfly wings
→ stars copy-pasted on to-do’s
Rida Zulfikar is a poet living in Chandigarh, India. She has been published in the Journal of Undiscovered Poets, InkPantry, Visual Verse and more, and has authored The First Few Tiles of The Road. She is also the editor-in-chief of Mollusk Literary Magazine- dedicated to empowering writers and poets.
by Rebecca Brown
We lounge under the duvet,
my limbs in yours,
making plans for the park.
I place sliced grapes
and bear-shaped crisps
under your expectant noses.
You tell me you love me
over and over again.
We watch each other closely,
ready to worry at the first hint
of a tear falling.
I tidy the scattered puzzle pieces
and wide-eyed baby dolls,
as if I don’t love
If only I could express
these golden moments,
sweet and strong as honeycomb,
are as good as it gets.
Rebecca Brown (she/her) is a disabled mother with incurable breast cancer. She started writing when the hospice gave her a gratitude journal. Once she started, she could not stop! She shares her experience growing up disabled and living with cancer. Rebecca has had poems published in Wishbone Words and Recesses.
by Sophie Finlay
some coil flesh-pink,
lips lined with teeth
an aperture whorls to an apex.
within the extraordinary
geometry of retreat
a mollusced body
nestles in the silken
the nacre of the shell
boneless, they shed their shells
after the larval stage.
with branching, naked gills
and soft horns
the nudibranchs feed
on algae, sponges, coral
and sometimes each other,
absorbing the hues
of what they eat--
skins bulging with colour
III. Jewel anemones
a blush of footed pink,
each tentacle has a tiny bud
at the tip--
coloured more brightly
than the body of the polyp
and resembling a jewel
or a dew drop,
the ocean gives birth
to luminous forms
an abdomen of bony rings
a coronet of filaments--
sensing with delicate fibres.
fins that allow the seahorses
to hover above the ocean floor
and suck tiny shrimps
into their snouts.
tails to curl around
the kelps and grasses--
to hold-on in the sea-channels.
a seahorse father
has a nursery pouch
in which he can adjust
preparing his babies
to pour into the sea
Sophie Finlay is a visual artist and poet. She lives, works and creates on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. Her poetry is published in multiple journals including Meanjin, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Plumwood Mountain journal and more. She has also been a finalist in several art prizes including the John Leslie Art Prize and the Salon des Refuses exhibition, Lethbridge Landscape Prize. Sophie is currently a PhD candidate in literary studies and creative writing at Deakin University.
by Daniel Fuller
The mayflies have ever danced there
in the cool sunlight, at the closing of the day,
given over to lament
and the sad, loping songs playing on the radio.
The branches about them make art
of the muted wood on the walls
and it is time to let go
time for me to make unhappy watercolours of myself
—the day has abandoned colour now
and this hour draws something wretched from my voice
such that I can forget this city
and almost speak in the manner of colonial streets.
To speak nothing of the gap between
evenings spent on buses in a place big enough for my tragedy
and this hateful serialism
from which a yearning cello rises and falters, like rain.
Daniel Fuller (he/him/sé/é) is a British-Irish writer and musician. Currently based in Oslo, he draws inspiration from land and country, as well as the personal and relational. His work has been published in Rust + Moth, The Madrigal and The North Magazine, and was shortlisted in the 2020 Bridport Prize.
by Meggie Royer
In a past life my great-aunt
believed she was a monk,
resplendent in marigold robes,
offerings cloaking her doorstep like a shroud.
There was a heron against the water
in her dreams,
so pale it shone like hair.
In the life before that
she was a boy in a cave,
younger than I could ever picture her,
hiding coins in the dirt.
It was a privilege, to end one life
and wake in another,
to falter in the way love falters,
to see her likeness
moving around the corner like a cloud.
When I knew her, I knew myself.
I saw her; I saw what she buried,
I saw that some of us spend our whole lives
moving away from what moves toward us.
Meggie Royer (she/her) is a Midwestern writer and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Persephone’s Daughters, a journal for abuse survivors. She has won numerous awards and has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She thinks there is nothing better in this world than a finished poem. Her work can be found at https://meggieroyer.com.
by D.W. Baker
pantoum collage after Martha Lundin
To be a witch is to love the natural world more than the things human hands have made.
We name women who spend too much time with nature Witch,
but the line between goddess and witch is thin--
I was always sure of my identity: I was part of her.
We name women who spend too much time with nature Witch.
(We name things we want to control after women.)
I was always sure of my identity: I was part of her--
In this one body, there is no need for names.
We name things we want to control after women,
but the line between goddess and witch is thin:
In this one body, there is no need for names--
To be a witch is to love the natural world more than the things human hands have made.
D.W. Baker is a submerging poet from St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, who writes about place, bodies, belonging, and the end of the world. His work appears in Green Ink Poetry, Snowflake Magazine, Feral Poetry, and elsewhere. He is a poetry reader for Hearth & Coffin. See more at linktr.ee/dwbaker
by Patrick Wright
you post pictures of funny-walking seagulls
and crumb-loving pigeons. from a distance
I imagine a mother and child, clambering
over rocks, eating crêpes, paddling waist-high.
as lifeguards supervise, your message arrives
on ‘the uncanniness of arcade machines,
a run-down town, a rag-and-bone tumbleweed
place, a bustle of back streets, antique shops …’
meanwhile, my device is streaming blue skies,
terns perched on promenade lights, a laughing
sailor: come laugh with Jolly Jack. I reply:
‘I hope to never meet him under moonlight.’
you heart this line. you’re far, while I’m at a
loose end. you text as you trudge up the steps,
put the fun in the funicular, sign-off with emojis
and gifs, nothing but a screen of hieroglyphics.
Patrick Wright has a poetry collection, Full Sight of Her (Black Spring), which was nominated for the John Pollard Prize. His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The North, Southword, Poetry Salzburg, Agenda, Wasafiri, and London Magazine.
by Alana Kelsall
we arrived as couples
at the rebirthing centre mats lined up
like rafts his arm around
my shoulder I dropped
to a crouch
angled my huge belly into line
wondered who would succumb first
to the tug of sleep draw up
the flood of their birth?
our best friend trumpeted his snores
in no time roped back sheepish
into the shadowy room
whale music probing the walls
feeling like a cabbage adrift in a field
I slipped towards a dark watery eye
was it a fish?
how human is it to breathe?
the Denisovans once roamed across
vast mountain ranges leaping
from crag to outcrop
without losing their breath
a gene they bequeathed to the Tibetans
where did they come from those climbers
how did they die out?
were they somewhere between a fish and a bird
able to lean into storms
with breath and bone?
how did my body erase my
fearful mind during labour
with each surge
to the end?
will our children’s children have to breathe
through water learn how to float
to higher ground?
Alana Kelsall is an award-winning writer of poetry and prose who lives on unceded Wurundjeri land. She recently won second prize in the June Shenfield Award, and was longlisted for the Liquid Amber Poetry Prize. Her poetry is forthcoming in the Australian Poetry Anthology.
by Steph Amir
Blue ink exploded
onto unidentified viscera,
or perhaps it’s four
huddled in a grisly lump,
with a jellyfish wobble yet
not jellyfish at all.
Steph Amir’s poems have been published in Australian Poetry Journal, Foam:e, Plumwood Mountain, Rabbit, StylusLit, TEXT, and others. In 2021, she was a Writer’s Victoria Writeability Fellow and in 2022 was shortlisted for the Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Writing Awards for poetry. She recently published her debut collection, “Pieces That Fit."
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