‘Tiger in the National Gallery’ by Susan Utting

Tiger in the National Gallery after Henri Rousseau’s “Surprised!” Why surprised? – I’m everywhere: I’m tapestry and marquetry, and Paris hothouse fantasy. I am pelt and roar beneath a rich man’s silk-shod feet, I shoulder-shrug a wealthy woman’s back, clotheshorses catwalk me; glass cases keep me cool and pristine, poems fete me, legends spin me, taxidermy gives me life eternal. And here I am among … Continue reading ‘Tiger in the National Gallery’ by Susan Utting

Two Poems by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough

  Potholes Every village has them. Some appear overnight and none of them have spray-painted signs or battered warning triangles next to them. Though their ambitions are shallow, some potholes leave openings wide enough to swallow you. You try to ignore them, but they pull you in and though at first you call out, your cries for help can go the length of a village … Continue reading Two Poems by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough

‘The Very End of Old Delph Will’ by Jean Atkin

  All Saddleworth was plagued by boggarts in those days. Such beings stumbled by like woolsacks. And they were wide as a lane and their eyes were blazing dinner plates and they were constantly likely to emit hot winds. The country people are frightened to death said Ammon Wrigley, folklorist. Or they were, until that day in 1710 when Old Delph Will met his end … Continue reading ‘The Very End of Old Delph Will’ by Jean Atkin

‘Catastrophe’ by Rowena Knight

  We heard the heart-stopping leonine groan during our morning tea-break. As Christine checked Google News the windows smithereened and Ginger Nuts hammered the office, knocking off desks and cracking screens. An infinity of biscuits poured through hallways, blocking entrances and fire exits. The receptionist’s desk was lost to an avalanche of NICE biscuits, the phone’s ring smothered by glittering snow. She’s eating her way … Continue reading ‘Catastrophe’ by Rowena Knight

‘Villanelle to all my Wasted Flesh’ by Jane Burn

    This bed a purse of flame and I, a hot coin thrown to its tawny lickings lie, het suckle-pig, skin lachrymose with rendered tears, beast burned to its bone – I have squirmed my own grease on the sheet’s thirsty pone. I paid for my dreams, blazed a cruel ascension in this bed – a purse of flame and I, a hot coin … Continue reading ‘Villanelle to all my Wasted Flesh’ by Jane Burn

‘Mercy’ by Kathy Pimlott

  I dream forgetfully, retain just a suggestion of something thwarted. My husband dreams of murder, all hands-on: noose, bludgeon, knives. He’s under orders to kill, demurs, he says, in vain. This is a man who dispatches prolapsed chickens, mice, once a muntjac fawn half-garrotted on a wire fence, a man who salts ox tongue, the great muscle sitting outside five days in a big … Continue reading ‘Mercy’ by Kathy Pimlott