Alone and together – by Jackie Biggs

A city that snares
slow rhythms
(Federico Garcia Lorca)



A river flows through
afternoon’s slow heat
Lorca’s pace

(together and alone
juntos y solo)

babble at café tables
rises and drops into shadow
by the waterside

sun falls through trees
the flicker of fresh leaves
in green spring

(solo y juntos
alone and together)

wine is red, time is yellow
the rhythm of the river is ours
for this hour adrift.




Jackie Biggs has had poetry published in many magazines and anthologies, both in print and online. Her first poetry collection, The Spaces in Between, was published in September 2015 by Pinewood Press (Swansea). She is a member of the four-woman poetry performance group, The Rockhoppers. Some of her poetry appears on her blog: Twitter: @JackieNews

Time to Vote – Sept/Oct Readers’ Choice Poem

In September and October these were the five poems that generated the most engagement/reaction with readers over multiple media platforms, and are shortlisted for the bi-monthly mug prize. Please vote and make a poet happy today.

The poll will close with the announcement of the winning poem on 10th November.


Bishops’ Hearts – by Matthew Stewart


(El Convento de Santa Clara, Zafra)

Outside, people rustle and mutter
an order for biscuits through the mesh
and solid silence. Her fingers count

the Corazones de Obispo,
stroking their almond-encrusted shells.
A hatch revolves. The hearts have gone.




Matthew Stewart works in the Spanish wine trade and lives between West Sussex and Extremadura. His first full collection,The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear Publishing, 2017), was preceded by two pamphlets with HappenStance Press. He blogs at Rogue Strands

fire seen from a distance – by J. C. Mari


there’s a
blue hand on the grass
like pieces of lion in the jaws
of a hungry savannah god

stupid, ruthless,
relentless eating slow.

there’s a
blue hand on the grass,

it stalked the moonlight red
and bled the night
’til spent
it pissed itself
into translucent yellow dawns.

there’s a
blue hand in the jaws
of a hungry god
relentless eating slow,

it roared murderous demarcations
in obscure intent and

nibbled away
we watch it disappear

we watch it
fade from the world.

not knowing why
something in us
grieves its passing.





J.C. Mari is a Floridian who ekes out his living in occupations unrelated to poesy or the arts. He is occasionally published here and there. Like everyone else he does his best to achieve/maintain some degree of functionality.

Instructions for My Husband When My World Comes Undone – by Michelle McMillan-Holifield


Let me dig in your jeans pocket for gas money.
Close in on me when I run.
Unstart the dark trek away from you. Undirty my feet.
Be my delete button: I press you, undocument me.
Give up for me. Don’t give in to me.
Play that song that talks about home.
Turn it up so it’s all I hear.
Let me dig in your jeans pocket for my hair pin.
Pin my hair back. Leave wispy tendrils.
Tell me what I want to hear. Then remind me that’s a lie.
Truth me. Put your language in my mouth.
Tell me hard things. Make me believe them.
Do that thing that makes me laugh. Yes, that. And that.





Michelle McMillan-Holifield is assistant editor for Edify Fiction and recently completed a writer’s residency at Wild Acres in North Carolina. Her work has been included in or is forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, Jabberwock Review, Sky Island Journal, Stirring, The Collagist, Toasted Cheese, Whale Road Review and Windhover among others. She hopes you one day find her poetry tacked to a tree somewhere in the Alaskan Wild.

Hospital Night Wardress – by Natalie Scott


You want to repay the favour
in one of the only ways possible
and I’m in need of love.

Your fingertips, cold and tentative
raise gooseflesh over my chest
as you gently rub.

The balm melts to liquid on my skin
and you watch, noting my reaction
to each touch.

I see your lips steadily twist
into a smile when there is no more
left to spread.

My flesh is raw as a prime cut
seasoned with camphor. Its scent
clings to our skin,

ready for the tasting. Later I will
smell its earthy tang while you
lather it off your hands.

You redo my dress, carefully, carefully,
so the oils don’t stain. We resume our
roles. No one has seen.



Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.