‘Secrets of a cartographer’s wife’ by Katrina Dybzynska
The cartographer’s wife never told him
about her contributions to his maps.
A few tiny islands hidden in the middle
of an archipelago in the name of symmetry.
Some borderline moved to resemble
a face shape. The territory of England shortened
slightly, in personal revenge.
One time, she renamed an insignificant river
in Bangladesh after her lover. She felt pity
for the cartographer that he was more furious
about the affair than about her intervention
in the world order. She knew that romances
were ephemeral, while naming things
was changing them forever.
Katrina Dybzynska poet, shortlisted for Red Line Poetry Prize 2019. Author of „Dzień, w którym decydujesz się wyjechać” (The Day When You Decide To Leave), Grand Prix of Rozewicz Open Contest 2017. Laureate of national competitions in Poland. She has been publishing short stories, concept book, science fiction, reportage, and poetry, but feels most attracted to genre hybrids. Polish Non-Fiction Institute graduate. Activist. Currently a member of Extinction Rebellion Ireland.
‘Correnti’ by Viviana Fiorentino
Ora è questo un manto di alghe e sale
sotto il vento atlantico
o è corrente marina del fondo
della mia vita e della tua vita
ora è sogno o perla luccicante.
‘Currents’ (English trans. by Maria McManus)
This is a shawl of salt and seaweed
against the Atlantic wind
the ocean currents on the sea bed
of my life, your life
a dream, a burnished pearl.
Correnti /Currents © Viviana Fiorentino, english trans by Maria McManus
Viviana Fiorentino was born in Italy. After obtaining a PhD, she travelled across Europe, from Switzerland to Germany, England and finally to Belfast where she teaches Italian Literature. Since 2018 she has taken part to literature festivals in Italy and in Ireland. She was involved in the poetry project ‘LabeLLit’. She has been awarded or mentioned in various Italian poetry prizes (i.e. Arcipelago Itaca Edizioni & Bologna in Lettere Dislivelli). Her poems appear on Litblogs, international magazines (Brumaria, Works #9’, 2018) and in the Arcipelago Itaca Anthology of Italian contemporary poets. In 2019 she published her poetry collection In giardino (‘In the garden’) for Controluna Press and her first novel Tra mostri ci si ama (lit. trasl. ‘Monsters love each other’) for Transeuropa Press.
Maria McManus lives in Belfast. She is the author of Available Light (Arlen House, 2018), We are Bone (2013), The Cello Suites (2009) and Reading the Dog (2006) (Lagan Press), she has collaborated extensively with others to put literature into public spaces. She is the artistic director and curator of Poetry Jukebox and an active organiser and founder member of Fired! Irish Poets.
‘Genetics’ by Roberta Beary
Your eyes are big and round like your father’s
but while his are the color of the Irish Sea
yours are the color of the muddy fields
on my father’s land
fit only for the peasants who worked them.
a shadow flutters
the fish tank
Publication credit: Rattle #47, Spring 2015 (ed. Timothy Green)
Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. She is the author of Deflection (Accents, 2015), nothing left to say (King’s Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, 5th ed. 2017) which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards. Beary is the editor of the haiku anthologies Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018), fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (HSA, 2008) and fish in love (HSA, 2006). Her work appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, Cultural Weekly, 100 Word Story, and Haiku In English The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013). Beary’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and multiple Pushcart Prizes. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland where she edits haibun for the journal Modern Haiku.
‘Dying Lover’ by Anora Mansour
Trace my lips
In low whispers
As I once wept psalms
over my dying lover.
Threaten that man
You will murder for me –
For my heart
is a cadence of silence.
I can only love you
if you creep through this life
as a ravenous red kite.
When we both
become one lonesome night.
And rub up to love up as a fight.
Oh, how I might love you,
bitter citron basket on my lap
Slumberly trusting me as a child.
I would open my thighs to you – a snap trap.
Perhaps then you could open the universe for me.
BY ANORA MANSOUR
Anora Mansour is a graduate of the University of Oxford. She lives between Oxford and Dublin. She has been published in a collection of Jazz Poems, various online sites, and has her own published collection of poetry and blog. She is African-American and Irish.
‘Clutch’ by JLM Morton
in the nest of my fist, a fledgling
scooped up from the lane
her soft unfinished beak
her shining eye
a buoy ringing in the green cathedral of trees
a single yellow feather wisps across my knuckle
there is a twitch of elephant digits
and I think about keeping her
raising her as my own
feeding her worms
but I let her go
chirring for the ones I could not save.
JLM Morton lives in Gloucestershire, England, snatching as much time as she can to write between caring for a young family, renovating a house and staring up the barrel of a demanding day job. Her first set of poems was recently published by Yew Tree Press for the Stroud Poets Series and she is currently working on a collection.
Website URL: jlmmorton.com
from ‘Grieving with the Animals’ by Polly Roberts
Though the civility of civilisation frightens me, I visit somewhere populated.
A graveyard made squirrel territory. One squirrel for every gravestone.
They mount lichen-covered peaks and keep lookout.
They claim the trees, the abandoned church.
Nobody will make them leave.
That night, I dreamt the answer to the universe.
It was blue,
inside a conch shell. Spiraling
in and out of crystal moments.
In and out of images of the hospital bed,
and these dreams.
Polly Roberts grew up in Devon. Three years studying Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia left her with an inextricable link to the landscape, compelling her to continue to write about the creatures and habitats encountered there.
Observations of both the non-human and human world continued whilst living on a houseboat on the River Avon near Bristol while completing her MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
Polly has run creative writing workshops for refugees, detainees, and young people and curated two exhibitions in response to her writing, both displayed at the Norwich Arts Centre.
In 2018, the British Council awarded Polly a Writers by Nature scholarship, during which she wrote this debut poetry collection, Grieving with the Animals. ( 2019, Dempsey and Windle)
‘Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise’ by Ellen Nic Thomás
A dhílleachta linbh gan ainm, gan athair,
Do chraiceann ar aondath le humha an nathair,
A lúbann timpeall do thaobhán uiríseal,
Mar bhata ceannródaí is sníomhanna sisil.
Is trua liom ciseán do dhóchas a fhíochán,
Do dhán a chaitheamh i bpoll an duibheagáin,
D’eiseadh a chruthú ar bhunús baill séire,
‘Nois tá tú chomh cotúil leis an gCailleach Bhéarra.
A iníon, a mhiceo, a ógfhlaith bocht,
A leanbh truaillithe, maith dom mo locht,
Imigh anois leat, ná bí do mo chrá,
Le smaointe ciúinchiontacha ó mhaidin go lá.
Ellen Nic Thomás is a bilingual poet from Dublin. She graduated from Trinity College with a BA in English and Irish. Her work has been published by headstuff.org, Tales From the Forest and The Attic.
'On watching a lemon sail the sea' by Maggie Harris 1 and I’m singing ‘You are my sunshine’ thinking of my childhood across the sea of incubation go Honey go you self-contained cargo ship you with your sealed citrus juices and pitted panacea of seeds braving the collision of tankers and illicit submarines they called me scurvy. the lemonade my mother made was iced and sprinkled with Demerara (of course) and I’m wondering, did they grow you there, o lemon mine you for your juices a lemon plantation, not to be confused with a plantain plantation even a banana just don’t mention sugar stack you in the gloom like hereto mentioned bananas green and curtailed in their growing or even those force-ripe mangoes with girls’ names nobody knows here and who leave their sweetness behind bare-assed on the beaches come to the marketplace comatose. I do not remember lemons, but limes. M I E L S. Piled high in their abundance. Limes. Acid green pyramids on market pavements holding their secrets beneath their reptilian skins. And there is my aunt, her arms thin as bamboo gathering the fallen from the yard, sweeping their dried leaves into the remembrance of herself whilst the black maid slips slivers of lemon into a split -bellied fish whose eyes glaze up at the sun. ‘Gauguin, you can come in now; remember Martinique ...? hue the native in all her harnessed beauty the slack –jawed fish, browning blood the textured landscape in shades of pawpaw and indigo.’ But, liming is what my lemon is doing now, (in the West Indian sense), hey ho over the waves at Aberporth, there he blows. 2 I set you free to take to the sea again on a high tide, with breakers rushing the beach like warriors. They pummel the sand, scythe a four foot chasm into the mouth of a lonely river beat the rocks’ submerged heads batter the cliffs again and again and again. The sea, beyond its charge, was waiting - a winter morning sea, a Twelfth Night sea tumultuous and moody waiting. A strange gift, you a large, perfect lemon fresh and sharp as the sun-bright wind-cut winter’s day. But I unsure of your heritage refused you. 3 Dear Voyager, I cupped you in my palm desire urging my possession how easy it would be – a lemon drizzle cake a Martini iced, an accompaniment to plaice or sole – and here I am playing with words the resonance of belonging, of immortality – but the devil played tricks with my mind an injection of poison perhaps, a needle prick into your pristine, nobbled skin – but we are running ahead here thinking of cargo – you may simply have fallen from a Tesco carrier bag whose owner, fearing a lonesome home-coming went walking on these very sands contemplating - life. But there you were anyway, settled on the sand like a crab then comfortable in the palm of my hand. 4 Finders are not necessarily keepers. Some will do well to remember that. Vixens circling misunderstood husbands in bars. Frag ments from the fallen. Oh but, how strong is the desire to hold close, keep tight smother your darling, your little nut-baby in soft gloves, hard love, the kind that makes you want to bite, bite! Rip flesh and bone. Swallow. I could have accepted your sacrifice that gift of yourself, thank the universe for its benevolence. But the universe is not benevolent. Stars are exploding missiles in a panther-black night. Saturn doesn’t give two fucks. It’s chaos out there. But I guess you didn’t have time for star-gazing in your ocean-going lumbering over the hey-ho waves. And if I had sunk my vampiric teeth into the you of you, you would be no more than a bitter taste, a withering lump of citrus on my kitchen table. Far better to remember you the obsidian walnut weight of you and these questions you have gifted me and that last sight of you rolling away on the tide.
Maggie Harris is a Guyanese writer living in the UK. She has twice won The Guyana Prize for Literature and was Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story prize 2014, with ‘Sending for Chantal’.
She has worked for Kent Arts and Libraries, Kent University and Southampton University as International Teaching Fellow.
Maggie Harris Site URL: http://www.maggieharris.co.uk