23 May

Blue Moon

by Linda France

Our eyes are drawn to the blue horizon,

the shimmering dot of the evening star.

 

We lose ourselves in the dance

of the moon, the darkening sky, the stray cat,

 

the pipistrelle whispering its winging,

the slugs who slither to lick our toes.

 

And the whole world is indigo.

I don't know how close you are, how far.

 

Our sadness chases us across the threshold

and there's nothing else to do but slip

 

between cotton and lose ourselves again

in the smoke of the blown candle. Your hands,

 

like no-one else's, the ring around the blue

of your eyes lift all the sighs out of me -

 

like the memory of something beautiful:

the moon, how close you are, how far.

 

22 May

Our Insanity

by Golnoosh Nour

Don't speak to me of panic when my 

glamorous sorrows have turned me 

into a rockstar! Drugged up, I hide my 

jewels in socialist orgies. Tonight, my 

muse has one emerald eye, and one 

aquamarine eye, garnet hair, and he 

has the coldest fire I have ever touched

he is indeed the prettiest star, and I 

am filled with loss. Still, I cherish his cold 

fire as he strokes my insane face

we look a bit like politicians we want to forget

our time together a never-ending summer

and I am nothing but an accidental survivor 

of my mother’s moondust. The pigs couldn’t 

drown me, and now I’m as ethereal as a siren

holding a gun.

 

 

 

20 May

Fungi

by Tamar Yoseloff

If we think dishonestly, or malignantly, our thoughts 

will die like evil fungi – dripping corrupt dew 

                                       John Ruskin, Proserpina

 

The smell –

wet anorak, fusty books, disturbed dust

of long unopened doors –

like the basement of your childhood,

beautiful scary darkness.

 

They poke

their tiny heads through dirt,

explorers from another age, and find

a world glassy with rain, a forest

thick with leaf mulch.

 

A good one,

if you’re starving, could save

your life. A bad one would kill you

after only one bite. Step on its poison head,

it billows black fumes.

 

Lost in the woods

and hungry, how to tell them apart?

You can trust the feel of flesh on your tongue,

good meat – you know it won’t hurt you,

you’re a bit of a witch yourself.

 

19 May

Malt loaf

by Gaia Holmes

It was the dark bread my mother fed me

to pacify my tears.

When I saw it on the kitchen table

I knew it meant departure.

She’d be slicing it into squares,

loading it with butter as he kissed me: as he

gently unhooked my hands from his neck

and walked out to the car.

She’d be laying it in a brown circle

on the big blue plate

as I watched the Renault rise over the hill.

 

She’d give it me with warm milk and honey.

The butter thickened in my mouth,

spread itself like wet silk in my throat.

I’d mould each slice into a small lump

until the raisins bled black juices

and my fingertips were slick with grease,

I’d squeeze it like the clay he let me play with:

the stuff we dug from river banks

spiced with bracken, loam and willow bark.

My mother would keep slicing and spreading

until I stopped crying: once I ate a whole loaf.

 

Now the spices seem too sinister for comfort.

The molasses jars my palette, reminds me

of tar, long roads and car doors slamming.

I do not like the taste of desertion.

 

18 May

Mango 1963

by Jacqueline Saphra

As I test the fruit for ripeness,

a certain give

beneath the fingertips

the way you taught me,

 

suddenly I'm looking up at you.

Your perfect legs,

your tiny waist,

your broken heart.

 

Pausing outside the greengrocer

you shiver in the February rain

beneath a canopy

of English grey.

 

You will not go on pushing

this cumbersome pram

up the endless hill, however hard

I cry. You are weighing up

 

the absurd cost

of one small piece of Africa,

the cold storage taste of home

and working on your best smile.