Sue Burge

Glow Alexanders are legion in the hedgerow, girding my shrunken world with lime-green early sweetness; broken stalks leak tangy sap – Roman celery.  The lacy heads are starting to seed, spikier now, and everything this shape – dandelion heads, thistles – anything that hooks and sticks, evokes our invisible enemy – magnified on every screen.  An artist … More Sue Burge

Orson

Downderry Moor is Empty The horizon is a considered slant of birch and gorse. It has been without disruption since the fox and its cubs, active last Monday. Inside, I’m now more aware of movement and my eye is surprised by the flash of freckles that is my arm, shifting from horizontal indolence. I shriek … More Orson

Valerie Griffin

NoShoulder to Cry On Ifell over yesterday. Lying there, on the crazy paving between the veg beds,with nobody to help me up, I had a little cry. It was just the shock. Nothing’sbroken…except my spirit. I didn’t say anything last night when you rang as Icould tell from your voice you were exhausted from another … More Valerie Griffin

James Northern

An Outpouring of Altruism There are eight of them clustered around the main entrance, cigarettes in hand. Barely a metre between them, never mind two. “Excuse me.” Not a flicker. As I squeeze past, a faux cough in my ear, hot breath on my cheek. Laughter. In the warmth of my flat, I put the … More James Northern

Michele Witthaus

Fever dream Last night, I dreamed that I went to church.When I arrived, the pews were full.I gazed at the mass of solemn, expectant faces.I found a seat in the corner, some distance from the crowdbut was called up nonetheless.They pronounced my name wrongyet I did not correct it.Fixing a tiny microphone to my collar, … More Michele Witthaus

Claire Dean

Making dens My youngest came in and asked what I was doing. Den, I said. I’d crawled under the coffee table in my bedroom. Only my self-cut hair and an ankle swollen from homeschool PE escaped its bounds. You have to make it better than that, was his response. He returned with one of my … More Claire Dean

Nicola Ashbrook

Batten Down The Hatches Block out the news; the multiplying. Zoom in. A whole world exists within this boundary: a school in the kitchen now, a pub in the front room, shops in the computer, friends on the phone. Husband commutes to the garden; children down the stairs. Unqualified, I tackle the curriculum. And together … More Nicola Ashbrook

Kristen Simental

Hunger and Loneliness Things almost never go according to plan. Once the terror wears off, you imagine learning new languages, maybe going for an online degree, catching up with old friends, changing your hair, spending quiet afternoons in a sunny window reading The Odyssey. Now is the time. You challenge yourself. You finally update your website, … More Kristen Simental

Laura Besley

Survival  I hear my elderly neighbours arguing. They never argue, and I think about the new pressures people are under.   Humans are adaptable, apparently, yet I’ve known expats to travel across Tokyo to buy baked beans. Rigid, resolute, recreating familiarity against all odds. Change takes time.  Time we don’t have. Rules that keep changing. … More Laura Besley

Zoe Turner

Coming and going  We experience ourselves in comings and goings, tending each contemplation between checkpoints. We are carried by prepositions that make our destinations possible; along the tracks to anywhere, up the stairs to bed. This morning I didn’t break the night’s fast. I trod through the aspects of my life as if it were … More Zoe Turner