Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Before The Birds Have  Fled     I knew a woman once whose belly swelled. She joked she was expecting. I’m blown up tight as a drum, she said. Her GP ordered tests.   Without complaint she went, tight-lipped on shabby Green Line buses. She told us she was coping fine. She was hoping for the best.   All the listless days of a fierce July she rested in a chair by the window. Bluebottles buzzed through the breathless nets, hovered like dark jewels above her hair.   Then late in September she took to her bed. She was whiter … Continue reading Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

Aoife Reilly

Ode to the Past   Now that you’ve moved further afield, I miss your quirky ways. I can’t say I long for you, but certainly your efforts causing mixed up measures of havoc and joy in The Present won’t be forgotten. Detangled from your ivy now, the horizon is clear and light with hindsight laughing at your wrong track premonitions. Impossible to see then, how the current pulls on the river carrying our lives along to this precise moment at the desk looking out on the giant ash swirling in south westerlies.   Past, you are something between ever changing … Continue reading Aoife Reilly

K.T. Slattery

If Only My Mother   If only my mother had been a pimp, Raised me with no self-respect, I could have been a reality star With extensions and still upright breasts.   If only my mother had taught me my worth Was tied to Gucci and Prada I could have inspired a million young girls To fill their head with nada.   If only my mother had explained success- That it starts and ends with Twitter. A million followers I could have had, Applauding my useless titter.   If only my mother had not Introduced me to Dickens and Poe … Continue reading K.T. Slattery

Michael Kroth

I Stepped Outside Myself   I put on a sweater and a coat and a hatAnd stepped outside myself.Yes, I’d been outside before, But never more than an arm’s length awayI’d been beside myself, many times,But rarely outside myself,And when I looked back I saw a rather quaint, a bit old-fashioned,A closed in gingerbreadhouse kind of place.But once I’d stepped outside myselfjust far enough I couldn’t walk back through that door againthough it seemed so dreadfully safe.I walked away.I was glad for the accoutrements as it was cold outsideand the wintry mistiness made everything seem so hazy.Looking back I wondered … Continue reading Michael Kroth

Glen Armstrong

Prop Master     When I hide behind the curtain, I am   not hiding in the conventional sense.   I am working behind the scenes and hiding   my feelings for you. Red light   shines on a clapboard army.   There is no huddle of young women awaiting   their return,   flat and crudely painted when considered up close.   I have nearly forgotten the relationship of prop   to property.   The plastic flowers are lovely but not   mine to give away.       Estate Sale     His heirs want top dollar. They … Continue reading Glen Armstrong

Bruce McRae

Space Weather     A rain of heated rocks and antimatter, alarmed citizens dashing for shelter, cursing the gods and government, the weathergirl nodding off in her chair, electromagnetic hail playing havoc with satellites and phone reception, the old crone banging her television, its screen clouded over with static hiss, cosmic rays and solar flares all part of a bigger picture, those falling stars not stars at all, unmoved by the whims of prediction.   Pocket   Reaching in I pull out a tooth, a lead toy soldier, a map of chaos, smudged instructions.   Reaching down I can touch … Continue reading Bruce McRae

Lynn White

Shall I Go Gently?   I’ve always been indecisive and I’m still undecided but soon I will have to choose whether to build my ship, and furnish it comfortably and sail with you gently into the dark into oblivion gently or to rage and fight scratch and bite kick and scream so that you have to drag me to where I will not follow gently into oblivion into the darkness the inevitability of the end whichever way I choose.       Mermaid   It was the change in her hair she noticed first growing now like harsh thin weed … Continue reading Lynn White