‘Standing Up’ by Amlanjyoti Goswami

    Standing Up Head bowed, his ears perked. Eagle-nosed-spectacled, the teacher asks a common class: Was it really the sun that came in through the window? Or was it the sun’s rays? The class sniggers. The sun, he finally lied, defiant About the slanted truth. His failure, reported, circled in red. The long trudge home. And did you have to drink hot tea In … Continue reading ‘Standing Up’ by Amlanjyoti Goswami

‘Three Girls’ by Helen Frame

    Three Girls after the BBC three-part drama series of the same name Her skin is powdered moon and her eyes slate roofs at dawn and she’s free as a bike ride in Provence and she’s fifteen like holidays in the sun and bubble gum in pink and yellow wrappers and she’s hitting puberty like cardamom and pomegranate molasses and she’s complex as smoked … Continue reading ‘Three Girls’ by Helen Frame

The Barbecue (Royal Wedding, 1981) by Paul Stephenson

Mum was mincing steak when it started with Dad’s panicked shouts. She darted out onto the lawn, freshly Flymoed, to see flames dancing, him charging across the about-to-be- christened patio like a bull in a wipeclean plastic apron of a busty bikinied woman, his legs zig-zagging, his beard ablaze, soon tangled up in bunting. The cold tap wouldn’t gush so he buried his head in … Continue reading The Barbecue (Royal Wedding, 1981) by Paul Stephenson

‘On the lifeside’ by Sepideh Jodeyri

A poem by Sepideh Jodeyri, translated to English by Fereshteh Vaziri Nasab On the lifeside He had a shapely smell, Cruel shapes And stranger-biting eyes It seemed that he craved for my heart I poured sugar for him on the lifeside He ate and didn’t eat The lifeside is huge and high On the lifeside there are silent hands So many That no one desires. … Continue reading ‘On the lifeside’ by Sepideh Jodeyri

Two poems by Polly Atkin

  Imaging We can’t say for certain how long it had been there before we found it, masked by the hulk of the wardrobe, our own poor perception, its creeping rapidity, the weak radiation of winter light – its circular messages breaching the paper that glossed its scribblings over so many blinkered moons. It lived in our midst, clandestine. We slept together. It breathed in … Continue reading Two poems by Polly Atkin