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SEVERINE art | poetry | fiction | cnf

issue seven | between

issue seven | between

editor terri-jane dow t: @terrijane | i: @terri_jane cover art katy morari i: @katymorariart

between be·tween | \ bi-ˈtwēn, bē-\ 1a: by the common action of : jointly engaging b: in common to : shared by 2a: in the time, space, or interval that separates b: in intermediate relation to 3a: from one to another of b: serving to connect or unite in a relationship (such as difference, likeness, or proportion) c: setting apart 4a: in preference for one or the other of b: in point of comparison of 5: in confidence restricted to 6: taking together the combined effect of

writing from Matthew Harrison, Janet McCann, Claire Joysmith, Aileen Hunt, Beth O’Rafferty, Sian Norris, Meg Sattler, Christie Cochrell, RC deWinter, Gale Acuff, Emma Hutson, Cara L McKee, Clair Dunlap, Jess Glaisher, Anna Dempsey, Federica Silvi, Katrina Hays, Lucie Vovk, Melanie Faith, Emery Veilleux art from Katy Morari, Louise Barrington, Jannica Honey, Federica Silvi, Emery Veilleux

paving stones matthew harrison

Bertie was walking to school with his mother. It was a complex operation. Along the way to school there were over five hundred paving stones, and it was vital not to tread on the cracks between them. If you did – well, Bertie wasn’t sure exactly what would happen, but it would certainly be bad. His mother, walking ahead, was putting her feet just anywhere, so the responsibility for the family’s safety fell on Bertie’s shoulders. He walked slowly and carefully, treading only in the centre of each paving stone. “Come on, Bertie,” his mother said, turning and reaching back for him. “We’ll be late!” Bertie gratefully took the outstretched hand and scampered to keep up. A mother’s hand of course provided a pass from the dark forces that ruled the pavement, and he now stamped on the cracks with impunity. As they neared the school gate, his mother released him in order to fetch something from her bag. Finding it, she said, “I’ll say goodbye to you now, dear,” and bent to give him a hug. Then she straightened, and with a little push and a, “Hurry now!” she propelled him towards the school. Bertie took two steps, then hesitated. There were five more paving stones before the safety of the school gate. Other children were streaming past him, impervious to the menace beneath their feet, but Bertie knew his responsibilities. He took one step onto the centre of the next paving stone, then another onto the next. The gate neared, the excited voices of children playing grew louder, Bertie was almost there. In a moment, he could relax and join in the game.

“Whoah!” came a whooping cry, and a bump from a speeding shoulder pushed Bertie off balance. He staggered and steadied himself – but too late! His foot rested squarely on the crack between two paving stones. He looked back in anguish, to see the pavement gape wide, rear up on two sides, and close on his mother like a pair of great jaws. As he cried out in despair the jaws flattened and merged again into the pavement. His mother was nowhere to be seen.

the tube & el metro claire joysmith

On a London tube I am observer; in Mexico City I transmute into the observed.

In el metro, as I sit, stand, walk, hurry, my preferences have already been shaped; I’ve longed to dye my hair black although my wrinkles now help fashion a güera-sage look, less eye-catching.

As observer on the tube I can be, think, move, sit, stand, breathe, choose what to do, whom to watch —or not— read newspaper headings backwards listen to one-way mobile conversations roam across colorcoded clothes, shoes, umbrellas.

Or follow the classic tube map, read a poem courtesy of shape preferences out of preferences observe dukkha etched in flesh on storybook faces.

On the London tube my eyes have found freedom to wander and wonder.

In Mexico City’s metro I‘ve often had to find my shoes, focus on abc’s in a book in Spanish maybe afford a slight side glance mainly concentrate on sensations in alert open-eyed meditation.

Perhaps it’s just as well I ride

el metro more frequently: less opportunity for distraction.

nostalgia driving between janet mccann

homecoming that is really ache of nonhome place where you were signs zip by and sirens and there is no landscape the pain a thin, thinner knife the purple sage bloomed after the rain moist earthsmell and call the dog, here Argos! wounded by the edge of childhood, your flesh leaks light that almost unbearable pain rearview mirror-amazed mind the objects appear further away than the objects in the mirror that are closer than they appear

cacophonic sea lament aileen hunt

The gallery is in a laneway, tucked between a car repair shop and a printer’s. A handwritten sign hangs on the steel door. “Knock before entering,” it says, but the advice is redundant. The door is locked.

A young man is asleep across the aisle, head resting on his shoulder. He wakes suddenly, opens his eyes and looks straight at me. I turn away, stunned by the unguarded depth of his eyes. I’m at the gallery because I met a sculptor a few months ago, a friend of a friend of a friend. I liked her immediately; her passion; her belief in the importance of art; her disdain for the business of making a living. She liked me too, even though I know nothing about contemporary art; even though I’d never heard of performative sculpture.

My daughter has a seizure and is rushed to hospital. She comes to in the ER and a doctor peppers her with questions. “What’s your name?” he asks. “How old are you?” My daughter looks at him in blue confusion and my heart tightens. “Honey,” I say. “Do you know where you are?” “Here,” she answers emphatically. “I’m here.” The theme of the show is ‘The Place Between’, an exploration of liminality and threshold concepts. The brochure tells me that liminality is a suspended state of partial understanding, in which case, I’m the perfect audience.

I’m in Irish Sign Language class. My teacher is deaf and her speech difficult for me to understand. My sign language is weak and difficult for her to understand. She is trying

to teach me about classifiers, a grammatical concept that doesn’t exist in English, by showing me a DVD in British Sign Language. She forgets to turn on the subtitles. I don’t know any British Sign Language. The first thing I see is my friend’s installation, ‘Cacophonic Sea Lament.’ It’s a collection of cotton and coir cylindrical shapes mounted to the wall. When I move towards it, I activate a soundtrack, a low mix of Buddhist chants and Catholic prayers.

My oldest daughter is a troubled sleeper. Sometimes, when I call her in the morning, she looks about the room uncertainly. Then she bursts into tears. The second thing I see is my friend’s drawing, painted directly onto the gallery wall. The brochure describes it as a “Twenty-hour multi-layered durational performative drawing, Risque de Choc Electrique with Pears.” I study it intently, trying to understand the relationship between the oversized pear and the snippets of text warning of electric shock.

When I lived in America, I missed Ireland. Now that I live in Ireland, I sometimes go to a movie, just to hear an American accent. My friend is due back at the gallery at any minute. I would like to tell her that I understand her work; that I understand what she is saying and feeling.

My father, who hates the telephone, phones me from his deathbed. “How are you,” I ask stupidly, and his morphine-fuelled answer is largely incomprehensible. But one phrase is clear as a bell. “Some bastard stole my watch,” he tells me. “I left it on the table, and some bastard stole it.”

But I can’t make sense of what’s in front of me.

I’m lying on a bed in a busy emergency room, waiting to be examined by a specialist who won’t be on duty for another five hours. It’s three a.m., and I’m consumed by pain. I grab a junior doctor by the arm. Suffering makes me indecorous and I order him to find someone who can prescribe a painkiller that fucking works. Minutes later, I feel the icy burn of morphine entering my vein. I track its movement up my arm, across my shoulder; focus all my energy on speeding its journey. Yes, I think, as my jaw goes slack. Yes. There was a time when I wanted to make sense of everything. I thought that if I studied enough, reflected enough, everything would become clear. Now I think about all the certainties I’ve lost along the way, the things I thought I knew, the things I thought I believed, and the only thing I’m sure of is I’m no longer sure of anything.

My son is five and has night terrors. He thrashes about in the bed, screaming and moaning. I’ve been warned not to comfort him; he’s still asleep and liable to hit out at anyone who touches him. I stand in the doorway instead, watching his eyes bulge in fear. He won’t remember any of this in the morning. My friend arrives. She explains her work to me patiently, graciously, and I begin (I think) to understand ‘Risque de Choc Electrique with Pears.’ She tells me that she’ll paint over it when the exhibition is finished, return the wall to its original, blank state.

When I hear a bell, I try to meditate. Occasionally, the words of the angelus come back to me.

I admire my friend. I admire her willingness to watch the art she believes in disappear beneath a coat of thick white paint. I admire her certainty that something new and vital will take its place.

We wake early, the liminal time of day. Grey light steals across the sky; enters the room through unshuttered windows. We turn towards each other in practised silence and the sea murmurs its acquiescence. Afterwards, I drift towards sleep, hear your voice from a distance. Last night, you say, you went to a bar after your uncle’s funeral. You sat with the cousins you grew up with, middle-aged men now, and drank to the memory of the fathers who went before you. “We’re only borrowing their seats,” you say, and turn away.

An acknowledgement:

"Cacophonic Sea Lament" first appeared as "The Place Between" in The Lindenwood Review (Issue 4, 2014)

From When the Blackbird Sings Jannica Honey

be / tween beth o’rafferty

Betwixt / between. Between / betwixt. The words were meant to mean the same thing but as they stared out from the screen at Sophie she couldn’t see anything but the glaring differences between them. Between. Be / tween. The spaces in-between the words and the spaces between the l e t t e r s. What did those spaces mean? Did they indicate an intimacy between the glyphs, or was the space there to help them keep their distance, their autonomy? Tormented. She was being tormented by the letters and the words and the spaces, oh especially the spaces. They seemed so huge, lying there between everything on the screen, innocuous and yet vital, shaping the meaning of everything written while passively appearing to do nothing at all. When the spaces were correct you didn’t even see them, but when they were incorrect they destroyed words, meaning, tone of things. Sophie’s heading was spinning, the words on the screen a bright blur, so she snapped her laptop shut and closed her eyes, trying to calm her thoughts. Was between a word that linked things, or separated them? Something could be between objects, holding them apart, like a border. But didn’t it also indicate a connection, a relationship, between two personalities or places? Couldn’t you create something between two people, that meant they were brought together rather than kept apart?

How could you create anything though, if you couldn’t even decide on the meaning of a word? Sophie allowed herself a callow smile, considering the strangeness of being paralysed by a word, a concept, a totality of language that didn’t want to conform. What was it about this word that fixated her so much? Was it the odd look of its spelling, the t jutting up against the widely spreading w? Or was it the word in her mouth, the heavy emphasis on the first syllable, fading off into the distance for the second and third until you were barely letting any sound out? Whatever it was, it was blocking her, holding her back, crystallising her in amber so she would never be able to move again. Where was the escape, for surely there must be one? Sophie opened her eyes again and resting on the corner of her shelf, dusty from under-use, the thesaurus swam into her field of vision. That was it, the out, the resolution to the certain uncertainty of language. Another word. A substitute, stand-in, proxy. Thumbing through the large and musty book Sophie found her saviour – several of them all at once. Amid. Amidst. Among. Bounded by. Enclosed by. In the midst of. In the thick of. Interpolated. Midway. Intervening. Within. Which to use though? Sophie closed her eyes and stabbed at the thesaurus with a pencil. Among. That would do.

kindle sian norris

‘Shit.’ She turns to her husband as he slams the boot shut, her small tapestry holdall balanced over his elbow; an old-fashioned chivalry that she’s always half-grateful for, halfresentful of. She keeps quiet about the latter. That’s marriage, isn’t it? Compromises. Only on the small values. The ones that don’t matter quite so much. ‘What?’ he says, looking over her shoulder. ‘Oh. Fuck.’ The front door hangs open. Gaping obscene, their hallway indecently exposed. The yale lock is smashed in; wood splintering against the damaged paintwork. The double-lock is unharmed. ‘You didn’t double lock the door,’ she states. She swears again. For fuck’s sake, this time under her breath. How many times has she told him to double lock the door? This last, muttered only in her head. He pushes past her, shoving her bag into her arms. ‘Don’t touch anything,’ he calls behind him. ‘The police…’ She follows him in, reluctant. There’re splinters of wood on the carpet, crunching under her feet. She holds her bag close to her chest; shielding her MacBook within it. Her iPhone nestles safe in her pocket. ‘Shit,’ she hears him say from the living room. She stands in the doorway. The room is a mess. CDs have been pulled from their square shelves and scattered over the carpet, DVDs spread out among them. Light dances off

the silver discs, reflecting his distorted body in their glittering eyes. His wallet lies open on the table; her jewellery box has been shaken empty. The bracelet he gave her. Her mother’s necklace. ‘What’ve they taken?’ she asks. Her voice sounds far away. She remembers when she was burgled before, as a child, finding the hammer in her room. She’d been frightened. That blunt and alien object lying on her bed. Meant for her. ‘They must’ve taken something,’ he says, scratching his head. ‘Not the TV, or the DVD player. Maybe some of the CDs?’ He picks one up, stares at the vacant-looking woman on the cover as if he’s never seen her before, and puts it back on the shelf. It looks out of place. ‘Money?’ she says. He pushes his hand through his hair, clenches his fingers into the back of his neck. ‘No,’ he says, shaking his head. ‘Money’s still in the wallet. Your jewellery too, I think. Can you see anything missing?’ She looks at the chaos of the living room, the shiny plastic piled on the carpet like landfill. ‘We’ll have to put them all back,’ she says slowly. ‘Otherwise we won’t know what’s gone.’ She laughs. ‘Maybe it’s a comment on our music taste.’ He ignores her latter remark. ‘We can’t do that,’ he replies, ‘until the police’ve been.’ ‘The police?’ she echoes.

‘In case they come back,’ he insists. ‘It doesn’t look like they’ve taken anything…’ He looks around the room again, his eyes focusing on the blank screen of the TV, as if by staring at it he can magic it out of existence. A missing TV would make sense. It would be a problem that could be resolved. ‘They might be scoping it out… to come back.’ ‘Then why not take the money?’ she asks. He shrugs, and she can see a dangerous tension forming in his shoulders. He’s angry – angry at the drama that has resulted in this, this odd lack of drama. After all, what kind of burglary is it if nothing is burgled? ‘Do you think it’s a hate crime?’ she says, and instantly regrets her words. A hate crime would mean shit smeared on the couch, piss soaking into the carpet, graffiti emblazoned on the walls. Not this mess – not this litter that can be quickly picked up and alphabetised. ‘No,’ he replies. ‘I’m sure of it. They came to look at what we’ve got. They’ll be back to take it.’ ‘But why do it like this?’ she says, pushing the edge of Pulp Fiction with her big toe. ‘If they were just checking us out, why not be discreet about it? Not…’ she gestures weakly at the mess. ‘Not this.’ He doesn’t respond. ‘I’m tired,’ she says. ‘I need…I’m going to have a lie down.’

He’s not listening to her; he’s already busy unlocking his phone, dialling the police, preparing how he’ll explain to the insurance company that he didn’t double-lock the door. Would they even need the insurance company, she thinks. If nothing has been taken? Muddy footprints mar the cream of the bedroom carpet. Relief that it’s not shit is replaced with a shudder – the hammer again. She lies down on the bed and rests her forearm over her eyes. The long train journey from Edinburgh is catching up with her. She wants to forget. She puts her hand out, reaching blindly for her Kindle. It’s not there. She props herself up on her elbow, sinking slightly into the too-soft mattress (compromise), looking under the dressing table where she sometimes leaves it. It’s definitely not there. The charger, which she’d left hanging from the socket, is gone too. ‘Shit!’ she says. She returns downstairs, giddy with the power of discovery. She knows what’s missing. She’s the only one who does. She can give him the answer, present it to him, her gift. ‘My Kindle,’ she says to his tense back, her voice slightly breathless. ‘They took my Kindle.’ ‘What?’ he says, swerving around to look at her, his shoes crunching on clear plastic, band names and movie star faces crushed under his feet. ‘Your Kindle?’ She nods. ‘It’s not in the bedroom.’ He stares at her, incredulous. ‘You didn’t leave it in Edinburgh?’

She shakes her head. ‘I didn’t take it,’ she says. She goes out to the hallway where she left her bag, comes back holding a much-thumbed copy of Forever Amber. ‘I took this instead. Trash, for train journeys.’ ‘There’s nowhere else you could have left it,’ he said, moving towards her. She shakes her head again, annoyed by his distrust of her brand-new knowledge. ‘No, I didn’t take it with me. Whoever they are, they’ve taken my Kindle.’ ‘Why would they take your Kindle?’ he says, the confusion and the upset of the last half hour contorting his face. ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Well, you’ll have to close your Amazon account,’ he says. He’s back in charge of the situation, catching the opportunity for action that she’d chucked in with her surprise revelation. ‘He could be rinsing your account right now.’ ‘Oh, come on,’ she begins. ‘How much money can he spend on a Kindle…?’ ‘No,’ he cuts in. ‘You need to close it down.’

Later on, and the men who have traipsed in and out of her home throughout the day have all left; their muddy footprints merged with the original intruder’s. There’s a new lock on the door, the key stiff with newness. He’s angry with the police who, he claims, were no help at all. They can’t help it that nothing really got stolen, she’d said, trying, and failing, to make him feel better.

Allowed at last to tidy up, she starts filling the shelves with rows of CDs and DVDs, white dust sticking to her fingers. There’s something so old-fashioned, she thinks, about burglary. There’s no money in stealing CDs anymore, or even the big ticket items. Not when you can buy a DVD player for a tenner. She wonders how much a new Kindle will cost. All her books will be saved on the Cloud, she presumes. The last CD is filed into its place. She steps back, her eyes checking that each one is in alphabetical order. But it looks wrong, somehow. It doesn’t look how it did before, when she left the house for Edinburgh. ‘Oh,’ she says out loud. She’s combined their music collections, her selections pressed up against his. This annoys her more than it should. That night she finishes Forever Amber, her impetuous heroine chasing her man across the ocean and into the prairies. *** It’s a few weeks before the first email arrives.

Your Amazon order of Great Expectations has been downloaded to your Kindle.

‘Shit,’ she says. She hadn't closed her account; hadn’t done as he’d asked. She could pretend that she’d forgotten to, but that wasn't it. She’d been curious. She’d wanted to know what the thief would do next — she wanted to know what they had wanted with her Kindle. Now she knows. The thief’s a person who wanted to read Dickens. In this revelation, a closeness exists between them that hadn’t been there before. It makes her uncomfortable. And yet, in that hint of intimacy, is a demand for more. She opens the email. It isn’t just Great Expectations. Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice,

Vanity Fair and The Moonstone. None had cost her a penny; no money would be leaking out of her account. A considerate thief, only choosing books that were out of copyright. Good books too. The classics. She deletes the email, and with it his new proximity to her disappears. Good luck to him, she thinks. He should really read Bleak House.

A month goes by before she hears from him again. This time he’s bought Paradise Lost. Ambitious, she thinks. What else? Shakespeare. Chaucer. Gulliver’s Travels. Wuthering Heights. Nothing modern, she thinks. I guess the modern books aren’t free.

He reads fast. Another month passes, and this time she’s pleased to see he’s reached

Bleak House. ‘It really is Dickens’ best,’ she announces to the screen. Still, she thinks. It’s a shame he can’t read the modernists. That he can’t read anything new. A thought flashes into her mind. She could… But no. Would he take offence? Would he think she was intruding? ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake,’ she says out loud. ‘It’s my Kindle. If he didn’t want me involved, he shouldn't have stolen it in the first place.’ She opens Amazon in her browser, chooses In Our Time, Mrs. Dalloway and, for something more up to date, Wolf Hall. Then, using the drop-down menu, she selects her old device, the one with the old name, and hits ‘Buy with one-click’.

They’re conversing through books. She sends him a play by Beckett and he responds by downloading Ben Johnson. After she provides T S Eliot, he selects Shelley and Keats. A novel is met with a novel; a short with a short. In the beginning, she tries to choose books that reflect the taste she detects from his downloads. She doesn’t want to put him off reading by sending something he hates. She picks post-modern classics, Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse 5. She has a vague feeling that these are the books men claim to like. Richard Ford’s Canada. She even sends The

Corrections; a book she’d never bother to read herself.

But more and more, she starts to abandon the books she thinks he might like. Instead, she sends the books she loves; the words that have pleased her; the new discoveries that give her pleasure today. Plath, Angela Carter, Doris Lessing. The well-reviewed Junot Diaz. A collection from the UK’s hottest new poet. It’s through these books, she thinks,

her books, that he will learn to know her. Day after day, seated at her desk, her mind drifts to what she’ll send next. She wants him to like what she chooses for him; she wants each gift to bring a look of joy to his face. She imagines a smile. The features of his face blurry, but the smile she gives him is rich and real. When she buys a new book for herself she reads it for him, judging it through his eyes. What colour are they, when he reads? She doesn't tell her husband about any of this. She can’t believe he’ll understand it. Some things are better left unspoken. Unspoken, so the gaps that words might reveal remain unseen. Months pass. Her Gmail account is clogged up with Amazon notifications - each email representing a chapter of their conversation. So she doesn’t notice at first that each new notification is only informing her of the book she’s purchased for him. Caught up in the fever of deciding and selecting the right book, she failed to spot he’s no longer making his own choices. She keeps on going. The Booker winner. A Moveable Feast. Orlando, followed by the Bailey’s Prize shortlist. She waits to see what he chooses in response to the gifts she keeps on offering. But there’s nothing. She sends him another Vonnegut, a collection of plays by Brecht. She waits for an email, a notification from Amazon telling her that he’s

downloaded A Tale of Two Cities or Hardy. She waits for something, anything, that shows he is still there, with her. But nothing. And with his silence, a part of her heart finally breaks.

on holloway meg sattler

Today I walked past the café I went with you when I didn’t know London It could have been on Mars then But today it was in Highbury. I met your friends there and We drank soy flat whites and One of them gave you a high five When I went to the bathroom. If I saw you this afternoon I wouldn’t say You know The last time I saw you was the only time I have truly felt like an animal When your bizarre accusations Turned me into a dog Antagonised into fighting and I didn’t know My heart could beat that fast Until my chest caught fire and I had to leave the room because everything Looked different and I learned then that Seeing red wasn’t a metaphor

That I spent years mourning the friendship Your anxiety stole from us and Scrubbing at myself to erase The words it made you spit at me. If I saw you this afternoon I would say Remember that day we had coffee At the place between the antique stores When we laughed at the gluten free options And you rested your hand on my leg for the first time That was a perfect day.

Poetics of Space

Louise Barrington

the girl who drew bears christie cochrell

Lately it was paws. Great, flat, slipper-like bear feet with five serious claws. The bear's claw was a talisman often included in medicine bundles, Rowena knew; warriors wore necklaces of bear claws to bring them power and strength. She needed both those things. Rowena's schoolmates teased her cruelly, not least about her family name, Blackwater. She knew it made her different from those others without Native blood, and she liked picturing the river or the lake which had borne her and her papa and all their relatives, like water lilies, iridescent fish scales, glimmering light. When the girls' cruel remarks became hurtful, the bears she drew somehow protected her. (She guessed that saying something was "unbearable" meant it was something even bears were not able to help.) She loved the noble creatures for their magic, drew from their wisdom as she drew them. She felt happy, and even just a bit formidable, when she put down the ursine curves in her sketchbook, or sometimes right there in the middle of her math assignment—bears nuzzling the line of fours. Spelling not her greatest strength, Rowena thought it obvious that adding bears to fours was how one brought together one's forebears. She made those bears immensely round, as her papa's much-hugging mother Oona had been. She drew bears sleeping, wanting just to hibernate, and when she did, she grew quite sleepy too. She drew bears ambling across the road, under the trees, and when she followed them she entered a green realm, the green of forests, malachite, a leafy sanctuary well outside the playground, where she wouldn't scrape her knees or be peppered with taunts. When their teacher, Mrs. Sanchez (with her hair always pinned up into a sort of scruffy birds-nest bun), gave Rowena the highest marks for her drawings, the other girls reviled her more and more. Lost in her daydreams, though, Rowena noticed less and less.

# At home it was okay, for a long while. Her papa made her Anasazi beans with juniper berries, read to her from the writings of Thomas Jefferson, took her out into the night sometimes, all bundled up, to point out the stars of the Great Bear constellation, which her classmates called the Big Dipper. Rowena pictured bears on riverbanks, next to black waters, dipping up slippery fish with their great paws. Bears were the keepers of the dreamtime, Papa told her. After stargazing they'd both go in to dream—often both dreaming of the same make-believe woman. She'd been a blackjack dealer at the Camel Rock Casino, Rowena's mother, then when she left them for Uncle Viktor and moved to Albuquerque, the Sandia Resort. She'd soon tired of family life and left Viktor as well, abandoning first Rowena and then her half-brother, Len—Hopi for "flute," one of Papa's sisters told her, though Len was all noise, a rattle or drum, sometimes an ear-splitting acoustic guitar. Things got much less happy at home when Papa took Len in, though Papa was just trying to undo some of the general unhappiness, he said. Viktor, inadequate brother and father, decent horsewrangler, sweet on Kentucky Bourbon and himself, had taken off for Fort Collins, where his buddy had started a dude ranch and promised him a corral full of quarter horses. Rowena was excited to be a big sister, and tried at first to teach Len books and stars, but he wanted no part of that. He was sullen, resentful, prickly. He snapped Rowena's pencils in half when she wasn't looking, stole the money she was saving to buy little tubes of watercolors—Indian red, burnt umber, yellow ochre. When he was with his friends, he treated her the way the girls at school did. He pretended they weren't related. Blackwater was a Scottish name, he insisted, nothing to do with the Indians. Like his friend Mac's, his grandfather had been a clan chief in Scotland ("much better

than a laird"). That really old James Bond guy, Shawn Something, was dark, too; lots of Scots had ancestors from Spain or even Africa. It made Rowena sad, that Len didn't respect their real elders— Papa, Oona, and the rest. It made her sad that he cared only what his mean friends thought. # In the winter months, Rowena felt cold and defenseless sometimes, without a proper covering to shelter her. She felt the way she did when Papa started forgetting to tuck her in, the way he used to. And different, but almost as bad, when Cynthia Carter threw Rowena's pink jacket in a mud puddle, for spite. That week she drew great furry bears, with tremendous fur coats like Grandma Oona told her absolutely everybody wore in Russia, or the old-time mountain man with his ferocious beard whose picture Mrs. Sanchez had shown them when they were studying the history of the West. And as she drew them, letting her pencil lead get blunt and broad, more like a sooty charcoal stick, she felt quite warm again, and comfortable in her own skin. # In late summer, bears came down from the mountains to forage for food to get them through their winter hibernation. They were spotted on the outskirts of town, huddled at bird feeders, under fruit trees, eating the fallen fruit. Rowena loved having them near—until her brother and his friends started to taunt and torment them, the way the girls did her. Taking after their mother's side of the family, Len was constantly in trouble—fighting, playing hooky, stealing bicycles, and even poisoning old Mrs. Baca's cat, a talkative Siamese, because he didn't like it how the bony ex-librarian told tales on him. Instead of drawing bears, he liked to mess with them, and do all of the things you weren't supposed to. He put melon out, with its sweet smell, to draw them in. He made pugnacious eye contact. He played what they called "chicken" with his

friends, seeing which one of them could get the closest; and together they made the animals feel trapped, ran off like prey, even launched stones at them with a slingshot, and toy arrows. Feeling twinned with the goaded bears, Rowena sketched the puzzlement and dawning anger in their eyes. She drew their great mouths opening wide as capital Os, those canine teeth of theirs sharper and longer than seemed possible—designed for tearing open beehives, ripping apart logs to uncover a feast of ants and grubs. She drew uneasy bears backed up against the page's edge, then all in an instant pivoting to face their tormentors. Bears are lumbering and slow, until they're threatened—and then they strike like the lightning that comes late summer over the mountains, bringing thunder that rumbles and growls. She'd always liked good thunderstorms, but was electrified by one afternoon's lightning strike, the unanticipated flash of reckoning when the boys hollered and ran off after one of a bombardment of stones hit a big old mother bear's eye, leaving Len cornered by the injured animal. Rowena felt more than a little sick at what she'd done. She knew exactly how it happened. She'd seen it in her head first, then she'd drawn the maddened bear turning on Len, and hurtling after him when he did what they told you not to—turned and ran. She had evoked the savage side of the bears' nature, made them lean and mean, deliberately rendering their brutish instincts. She hesitated for one long, irresolute heartbeat, then quickly sketched a bear turning away, shoulder rounded, then lumbering off through the trees. And when she looked up from her sketchpad, she saw her little brother on the ground looking after the unaccountably retreating bear, still stunned.

after the jubilee rc dewinter

the clock struck the finite hour while none of us were watching suddenly soulless in a world that had stopped evolving we were left with nothing but stylish ideas and weeds to chew prayer stuck in throats caught forever in a season somewhere between vinegar and mud and when it became clear we were all out of miracles i emptied my pockets of the wafers i'd been saving to have blessed

hind gale acuff

I was thinking about this blank page be -fore my pen took to it to erase it with what you're reading now, if you're reading it. I'm not, now, because I've left it be -hind. Well, not exactly: there's memory, don't forget, and posterity, the way you're remembered when everything else a -bout you is neglected. Take the dead (please): I've walked like one about to die, or just risen, among rows of stones gray and white, and thought of parchment and clean pages and clean sheets and the Ku Klux Klan and ice cream --vanilla--and white walls of rooms and tires and the white streak down a polecat's back and mine, white fur offset by black of a pan -da's face and the pale skin beneath my clothes and Don't fire 'til you see the whites of their eyes and snow and polar bear pelt (which is -n't truly white but has no color un -til the sun throws quanta on its bare hairs) and egg whites and the white lines between lanes

when it's okay to pass and white chocolate and Mr. and Mrs. White, the Black coup -ple across the street, and eggshells, and white chickens, pigeons, pink-eyed cats, gorillas, The Great White Hope, The Great White Shark, The Great White Way, Moby Dick, cast-plaster, white dish-drainer on my kitchen counter, pop -corn, and whatever else is white I pro -fane by recalling. Coincidences or false associations. But every word's another etch of an epitaph --I'm writing my own, but the question is Who's dying? Reader, you're not helping me --you're not getting this, are you? You would have been just as happy--hell, happier--see -ing an empty page and filling in your -self, writing over me your own text, bur -ying me beneath you because there are just never enough graves for all the dead when the world's choking with the choking living; you see a piece of paper, think, I've got

to leave my mark on that, recycle my -self, but I've got a message for both of us: we'll never be the end of things but will be ended, just not all at once though permanently, each in his turn, so to bring the darkness out of all that light, white receding but supporting, safety net for all we say and all we fear to say --it's all the same. I cast my ballot, vote my conscience, win and lose, elect myself.


Emery Veilleux

meringue house emma hutson

Brushing galaxies from cotton sheets To retain the comfortable order. Don't let the light of children's wishes Crawl under your skin and itch and itch Until you claw it out in dripping strings. It's about not stopping until you're done, Stick to the edges, hold you space. Hold your space. Until you claw it out in dripping springs, Ready to put you back in place, And out, and back in place.

nick cara l mckee

who wasn’t me though we were born on the same day, lived in the same house. Nick, today I saw you on screen. You were alive, so alive that I Googled you. Did you know online our birthday’s wrong? Did you let loose that year with a shrug? Did you lie? Flutter your lashes make yourself pretty? Did you do that for them? You did that for me once. We might have been joking about being carved from the same clay until that morning. You came early, bringing me your fears of all you’d given in the night – your stories, hardly set, untold. We kissed them right again, remade you as the man you claimed to be, a dazzle in our small world as we climbed together shifting our horizons. As the dew soaked us you pulled your stories straight. That was all, and much later, I did not feel you go, which was proof really, that all our similarities didn’t make us the same. You are done, Nick. I am told death was not your doing, yet I blame you. It’s your turn to prove me wrong.

dispatch from the bleak midwestern united states clair dunlap

in the sticky mouth of august, minnesota is green— the bugs scream with it. that is why, in the car, my eyes are always saucered out the window, thirsty and wild. the grass growing along the highway is the same color as when you hold a fresh algae up to the bright grey sky and let the cold sun shine through. doesn’t that sound nicer? to hold something slick in your hand and see it glow. next to me, always, you are driving the car, letting me look greedily at anything i want even the things i don’t love, or

remembering you holding the thick emerald kelp by its root in the cold morning in my favorite place your hat glowing against the black water and the algae as long as your whole body

the things that i do.

neither fish nor flesh jess glaisher

The sea is in my bones: it calls to me from my inland home, drawing me back. The stress of the city, its noise and heat, try hard to penetrate the pools of salt-water but the sea defences are strong. You have to go where the work is. When you work in a small industry like theatre what you’ve always wanted to do - you have to go where there are jobs to be had. You can’t consider how you’d be able to visit the ice cream shop that was down the road that made the best soft-serve, or the neighbour-friends your mum made when you were little. The shop might’ve closed, or might no longer make the same ice cream, the friends and neighbours will have moved on. Maybe there are jobs there too, back in the place that I feel whole, but I left so long ago that returning feels like an impossible task. Of course, there’s the other problem. Picture this: I’m home, I’m whole. I find a job in the industry I love, in the place that I love. And then I open my mouth, and everything collapses. “What part of England are you from?” I’m not. I’m not from England. I’m not British. When I speak, though, that’s what people hear. They see Union Jacks and a posh accent bred in Oxford. Even being town, not gown, doesn’t help me there. Except those who’ve also lost their true accent along the way: they can hear the edges of my old voice in my cover-up speech. When I’m alone, I cry salty tears for the home that I can’t return to. The memory of the waves ten feet tall on the seafront, and the one time it snowed against the odds, can’t be reached by train or boat. Even if I return, I sound like an outsider. I don’t fit in either

place, so I sit in the middle of the two: never comfortable, never held close to the familiar, always at arm’s length. I could change my voice, I suppose. A friend told me recently of someone who is Scottish at home and English at work because that’s how she feels she fits in, though she would love to be Scottish at all times. Could I do that? I’m good at accents, able to mimic inflections and dialect quickly: could I put myself on? Could I walk into work one day and start speaking in my natural voice, the voice that so long ago faded in favour of conformity? My colleagues might question it, but then again, we’re in theatre (darling) so would it even be the strangest thing that happened that day? Maybe I’d have to move. Maybe I’d have to cut all ties and head home, my real home, the one with salt in the air, and the wind that calls to me. Perhaps the neighbours would still be there, or the people I knew would suddenly be nearby. The past seems so perfect, though of course it can’t have been. That home wouldn’t feel the way it used to. Maybe I would just start afresh there, with my old-new voice flowing from my mouth like it was always there, just hidden beneath the surface of the water. Neither works completely: neither cutting ties and leaving nor reclaiming my voice from the sea and staying put will fully re-unite my two selves. They were separated long ago, and perhaps cannot be re-joined. In my dreams, my voice returns and I imagine that it makes me bolder, takes my meekness and anxiety away, allowing me to be fully me. Leaving the EU has made the whole thing worse. I’ll still be a citizen, I’m not from Britain. Whilst there’s a tiny smug devil on my shoulder, I keep the home office website

on a constant open tab in my browser to check that I don’t have to do anything to stay in the country. My home and Britain have a ‘special arrangement’: something to do with colonisation and invasion and entitlement. Still, I wouldn’t put it past them to do something sneaky that leaves me stuck on the outside, applying for citizenship in the country of my mother’s birth, completing a test that most British people can’t begin to answer correctly. I’ve lived in England so long that I think there’s an assumption of citizenship. I made the assumption myself, thinking myself as dual as I felt, until research told me how wrong my assumption had been. As I always suspected: I don’t belong here. Of course, no one would guess. From the outside, I look like I do belong. I’m a privileged immigrant, a hidden foreigner. I’m white, I speak as if I’ve never set foot outside this green unpleasant land, and no one, yet, has told me to go back where I came from. It frustrates me that I’m frustrated at being so hidden. It’s to my advantage, and others suffer from being less concealed, especially those assumed to be ‘other’ who are far more British than I am. I want people to see me as who I am: an Irish girl, displaced, diasporic, dislodged. I don’t want the surprise that I’ve seen on people’s faces since I was ten years old and my accent transformed from the beautiful butterfly in my throat to something unrecognisable. I don’t want the denial of my nationality that I get every time I protest, every time I show my passport. People wanting ID for alcohol, border control officers, friends who ‘just assumed I was English’. Irish colleagues who frown, tilt their heads, and say “You don’t sound like us”.

I want to be seen. Maybe I should create a third voice, a new accent altogether. That would confuse everyone, including me: who am I today? Am I the little girl who sat on the counter in the local chemist’s shop, the one with the old fashioned wood panelling? The scholarly writer who reads voraciously and buys more books than she has shelf space for? Or am I the third person, the other, the unknown. At work, discussions have been going on about England and Englishness. I kept quiet, which is unusual for me, until someone came and asked what I thought. My words caught in my throat and tears slid down my cheeks as I tried to speak. I could not identify with the question, with the quizzical looks from colleagues who once again had assumed I was as British as a cream tea. There is no solution. Just endless questioning in my head and heart as to where I fit in. So far, the answer is nowhere. Despite the sea in my bones, the salt in my eyes and hair, I fear the pools will run dry and I will lose that connection: I will lose who I am.

uprooted anna dempsey

I had just moved out of Brooklyn. Leaving right before the summer became unbearable, before the fire hydrant on Stagg Street was twisted open by the Puerto Rican family two apartments down. My boxes went back to my parents in Florida, my plants went to his place in Connecticut. He said he would take care of them until I came back. It was that year I decided New York City had been a lie, glamorized by movies and literature. The way I saw it, I left a city full of garbage and rats. But the people, the people were pockets of gold in the concrete. He came to pick me up in his car, a rare treat for a New Yorker. I was laying on the gray IKEA couch my roommate and I had lugged onto the sidewalk. I was hopeful someone would give it a new home. I scribbled a note that said “no bedbugs here, just a couch whose owner left her for London.” It was my first summer in four years outside the city. I’d stay with him and play house until it was time to cross the pond. The suburbs were nice. I learned what silence was that June. I would drive his car to a trail and walk paths without seeing a single human. Soon I’d be in grey so drinking in the sunlight became my job. His love left me the weekend I rented us a cabin in Vermont. It was in the kind of town where they sell local granola and ceramics on the side of the road. The wooden cabin was sparse. There was a green couch, a large standing mirror and a lofted bed. A single book shelf was in the corner, a home to only two books. A copy of Joan Didion’s

Slouching Toward Bethlehem and a novel about the edible berries in Vermont. We had sex in front of the mirror the afternoon we arrived. I tried to be flawless. To speak less. As if not using my voice would make me sexy. As if it would make love grow in him.

The river was a quick walk down a wooded path from our cabin. I spotted a private dock further along the trail and told him we should jump in. He was making jokes but didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t laughing. A shiver ran through my body. My intuition said to leave but I hushed her and poked him with a stick. If he wanted to be playful, I could be that woman. I wonder if he thought I was spontaneous. We swam out, away from the teenage girls tanning on the shore. I splashed the warm water at him. I think he smiled. We let our bodies float, our faces towards the sun. It was in that river, in that tiny town whose name I forgot that he told me he didn’t want to be with me. I thought about my plants, placed with purpose around his bare room. I flew back to my parents the next day. They lived in a retirement village in Tamarac, Florida. My mornings were spent at an aerobics class with my Mom and a dozen other women over 55. We griped our 4-pound weights as Bobby, in his black leotard made us do the grapevine over and over to the tune of Janet Jackson’s “Escapade”. My afternoons were spent back in the water. If the river was where the hurt would happen, the Atlantic Ocean would be where the healing began. Soon I’d be on the other side of this body of water, buying a new plant for a new life.

a study in monochrome melanie faith

This cold The slow, seeping kind Aches their faces, Collects a scorpion’s sting In their fingertips “Anybody smarter Would go back in” One or the other says, Neither has gloves. One hops in place, The other cups a cig Lights from the party That should beckon Do no such thing.

Federica Silvi

after-effects federica silvi

We live in fast-forward, days going by in a blur between moments of stillness. We look back in slow motion, searching for the clues we missed, the meaning that patiently lies in wait.

Berlin, April 2017

domestic katrina hays

She is not pretty. Her face was never made for your applications of color swept over cheek and brow to sweep under what you found unacceptable. She has never fit in damask; she was made for denim. Her lines are tuxedo; her stride too cocky to be constrained by skirt, slip, or stocking. She is herself. Sane in her sturdy body, she dances dinner onto your table. She whispers a ribald joke to the appetizers, murmurs a prayer into the ears of the salad greens. You do not see how your daughter’s square hands make barbeque tongs croon, how in her presence wine laughs itself into your glass, how your sweater transforms to a toreador’s cape as she swirls it over your shoulders. You say:

My Gad—people will say Dyke-Dyke-Dyke! when she shows you thick soles and black leather; motorcycle boots proclaiming her true north.

I watch her smile drain back into the black leech fields of childhood. Watch the drear and careful mask reappear to cloak her goddess face. I will burn this house to the ground.

goldfish lucie vovk

Cities are forgetful creatures. They inhale lovers and exhale street corners On which we exchange first kisses or phone numbers Seconds after leaving, the tarmac will lose the heat of our footfalls, The camera pans left – the stonework sighs, witnesses, does not remember come morning. I left for a year and returned only last week; Under my belt I have tucked months of memory and new lessons. The city knows my gait and I fall into step with her She does not ask where I’ve been, and does not care to know, But tugs at the bells swinging at my waist and tries to reabsorb me. There’s clues of the time gone: In the scaffolding that came down, In the new birds’ nests on chimney stacks, There are new cracks in the pavements. Still the sun shines just the same way on the old walls, And the people walk the streets just as they always have, Oblivious. I have new freckles and a wider smile. The city does not notice.

How much memory can old stone hold Before it all blurs into one long pantomime? That street corner, where we shared that first kiss A set for an infinity of simultaneous performances: The props are polystyrene boxes filled with chips and gravy, Or creased work uniforms, or music leaking from a cracked phone. To these actors, we are just another pair of extras, A couple kissing while warm bodies sleep above, While spiders rebuild their webs, While the same cobbles turn an eye to the sky to watch the night fly past us all. After enough nights, I, too, become the extra, spectator to my own life. The street corner is indeed the same, And indeed I can remember the finer details of those lips, But I have returned to the daylit universe. We borrowed from an other world those words and intentions, Pulled them into ours like an elastic band, And when we part, it snaps back, And we continue on. I walk through the joy of a faceless crowd, Watching fireworks bloom over the silhouette of the watchful city,

Eyes light up, children cheer, and I hear nothing of it. And so I walk, smelling the sparks as they fall to earth and disappear Like so many moments Into the same old stone. I exit stage right and into my apartment And here I melt into air, Become the smoke of every cigarette, Be every gull that tears into bin bags, Every chip box and every street corner, And every last cobble, Omniscient and forgetful.

between peaks emery veilleux

where the mountain was a lowland shoulder we were roving fingers of a lover at the raw base of the blouse: kissing contours of exposed bone and broken rock, with a tailpipe tongue sighing smoke growling

in curious pleasure

unbuttoning dusk seams with hood-eyed headlights splitting the ceaseless sweep of tawny plain by tracing rubber over gravel veins kicking up a shuddering wake of goosebump rubble and milkweed hairs raised tucking like sheets over peaks those shadows of gilded indigo in the rolling cradle of unbarren desert whose whispers heaved warm behind our earlobes; the pleasure hum of open country beneath our palms

From When the Blackbird Sings Jannica Honey


Aileen Hunt - Aileen Hunt is an Irish writer with a particular interest in flash forms and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in various online and print journals, including Sweet: A Literary Confection; Entropy; Hippocampus Compose, and the Ogham Stone. | @HuntAileen. Anna Dempsey – Anna Dempsey is an American writer and educator based in London. She is currently doing an MA at Goldsmiths studying Children’s Literature and Creative Writing. When she's not writing, she can be found playing ultimate frisbee or in pursuit of the perfect slide, her current favourite is in Telegraph Hill Park. | @annadempsey Beth O’Rafferty - Beth O'Rafferty is originally from Ireland and has been living in London for the past four years and works in publishing. Her interests include books, feminism, and wine. t: @BethORafferty | ig: @bethorafferty/ Cara L McKee - Cara L McKee did a degree in Women’s Studies which didn’t help her mood. She lives in Largs, Scotland, where she works in the library. She’s had poetry published in places including Picaroon Poetry, Anima Magazine, Bitchin' Kitsch, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, and 404 Ink. Christie Cochrell - Christie's work has been published by Tin House, New Letters, and Figroot Press, among others, and has won several awards including the Dorothy Cappon Prize for the Essay and the Literal Latté Short Short Contest. She loves the play of light, the journeyings of time, things ephemeral and ancient. | Clair Dunlap - Clair Dunlap grew up just outside Seattle, Washington, and started writing poems at the age of six. She is the author of In the Plum Dark Belly (2016) and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal

of Poetry, Hobart, Peach Mag, L'Ephemere Review and more. @smallgourd Claire Joysmith – Born of British parents in Mexico, Claire Joysmith lives in what writer Gloria Anzaldúa has called “nepantla’, or the “land-in-between.” She writes poetry/prose bilingually, translates, and teaches literature. Her poetry books are Silencio de azules (Silence in Shades of Blue) and Écfrasis (with visual artist J. Diaz). She lives in Yucatán. Emery Veilleux – Emery Veilleux is a student and emerging Boston-based writer. She studies English and Global Sustainability at Emmanuel College, and studies people everywhere else. Her poems have been featured in

riverbabble magazine. Emma Hutson - Dr Emma Hutson holds a PhD on trans literature. She has creative work published in C Word: An

anthology of writing from Cardiff, ‘Severine Literary and Art Journal’, ‘CrabFat Magazine’, ‘The Harpoon Review’, and ‘The Asexual Journal’. Her short story ‘Footsteps’ came second place in Sheffield Authors’ Off The Shelf short

story competition. @Hemmanony Federica Silvi - Federica grew up all over the place, but mostly in Italy; she now lives and works in London. She has collaborated with an Italian online literary magazine as writer and editor, and published work in English on Salomé, Dear Damsels, Memoir Mixtapes and more. @edgwareviabank Gale Acuff - I have had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Poem,

Adirondack Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Florida Review, Slant, Poem, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, South Dakota Review, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry, all from BrickHouse Press: Buffalo Nickel, The Weight of the World, and The Story of My Lives. I have taught university English courses in the US, China, and Palestine. Janet McCann - Journals publishing Janet McCann’s work include KANSAS QUARTERLY, PARNASSUS, NIMROD, SOU'WESTER, AMERICA, CHRISTIAN CENTURY, CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE, NEW YORK QUARTERLY, TENDRIL, and others. A 1989 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship winner, she taught at Texas A & M University from 1969-2016, is now Professor Emerita. Most recent poetry collection: THE CRONE AT THE CASINO (Lamar University Press, 2014). Jannica Honey - Swedish-born Jannica Honey moved to Edinburgh to study photography after completing a BA in Humanities (anthropology & criminology) at Stockholm University 1998. After building extensive editorial experience as The List Magazine’s in-house photographer, where she shot more than 20 covers and articles, she began focusing on more challenging subjects in a series of photo essays. ig: @jannicahoney | t: @JannicaHoney Jess Glaisher – Jess is a writer, performer and lighting professional working in theatre. She is a queer feminist and activist, whose writing focusses on LGBTQ+ character representation, mental health visibility, and the lives of women. Her story ‘Destiny’ appears in the anthology (Re)Sisters: Stories of Rebel Girls, Revolution, Empowerment

and Escape. Her work has also been featured in Novelty Magazine and on Dear Damsels, including their print anthology for 2019. She writes alongside a creative collective of women who met through For Books’ Sake’s Write Like a Grrrl course. She regularly performs her poetry and prose at spoken word nights in London and has written a Tiny Letter about her mental health called The Stories I Tell Myself. In her spare time she plays roller derby with the London Rockin’ Rollers. Katrina Hays - My writing has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, WomenArts Quarterly, Psychological

Perspectives, Bellingham Review, Apalachee Review, and Crab Creek Review, with poems forthcoming in The Hollins Critic. I am on the guest faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, where I received an MFA in Creative Writing. Katy Morari - I am a half Cypriot half Scottish freelance illustrator, animator and artist living in Edinburgh. I graduated from the University of South Wales with a BA in 2D animation. I recently put a stop to my professional career to focus on my art, and have since been working as a freelance illustrator. @KATYMORARIART/ |

Louise Barrington - My work is abstract, evoking remembered characteristics experienced in the landscape. The landscape of Orkney has had a significant impact on me, the open spaces are full of energy and the quality of light, especially at ‘in between’ times, twilight and dusk, has influenced my restrained colour palette. The structures are a continuation of the drawings that I make of the landscape that I experience, within a liminal space the works are between painting and sculpture. Abstract shapes and patterns are reduced down to minimalist marks, which attempt to convey a fleeting impression and movement. Lucie Vovk – Lucie recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with English Literature and Scandinavian Studies, and has just returned from Norway, where she spent a year trying very hard to learn how to roll her r's properly. She grew up internationally, moving every three years to countries in Africa, Europe, and Asia (so is professionally confused). Matthew Harrison – Matthew Harrison lives in Hong Kong, and whether because of that or some other reason entirely his writing has veered towards the speculative. He has published numerous short pieces and is building up to longer ones as he learns more about the universe. Matthew is married with two children but no pets as there is no space for these in Hong Kong. Meg Sattler - Meg Sattler is an international humanitarian aid worker, currently based between Europe and regional Australia. Having produced many words and images about war, she enjoys exploring the possibilities of creative writing and visual storytelling to explain the everyday. @megsattler Melanie Faith - Melanie Faith collects quotes, books, and twinkly costume-jewelry pins. She is a professor, poet, photographer, tutor, and author of two craft books for writers, both available at Amazon and Vine Leaves Press. Her collection-in-progress is called Particle. RC deWinter - RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2017), Uno: A Poetry

Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002), in print in 2River View, Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, From Whispers to Roars, borrowed solace, Pink Panther, Another Sun, Down in the Dirt and featured in numerous online journals. @RCdeWinter Sian Norris - Sian Norris is a writer, novelist, and journalist. Her fiction has been published in 3am magazine, Halcyon Lit Mag, and the Wales Arts Review. She is a regular contributor to the New Statesman, Guardian, openDemocracy and Prospect UK. She was previously writer in residence at Spike Island and is currently the Ben Pimlott writer in residence at Birkbeck University. She is the founder of the Bristol Women's Literature Festival. @sianushka |