Poetry – Issue 7.2

Albatross-Stair

by Laura M Kaminski

When you decide to leave the beach,
a clumsy burst of speed across
the sand, a leap of faith, a prayer

requesting lift, sufficient upward
pressure to raise you into air, carry
you out to sea to soar in splendid

isolation: the southern breeze arrays
itself in tiers above the water, each
layer blowing faster than the one below,

assembles an invisible shear-staircase.
You fix the firming tendons in your wings,
stretch wide, slide up the bannister.

Once at the top, a leeward turn, glide
twenty feet of distance for each foot
of descent. By the time you’re back

down near the surface, you’ve traversed
so much of the ocean that the globe
has turned, relocated the horizon,

and those winds must rush, gust forty,
fifty knots to catch you, set up another
unseen stair beneath the Southern Cross

for you to climb. As you gently tilt,
slide up against the arc of daylight,
the waves beneath you watch in silence:

white glowing feathers, wandering sliver
of a waxing moon returning home.

Medusozoa

by Pippa Little

Listen, they are singing,
the trailing heads: if you can hear them
that sting is travelling to your heart

but so effortless
are their long loose ringlets,
their gulp, contract and lunge

in inky waters,
their lit-up moons or lanterns
veiled, vanishing

that you want to save them
in their bloom
in their net of nerves

from being lulled too far
beyond the tipping-point
to sag and huddle

among the human

Narwhal

by Sara Wilson

The sea seals.
A slowing in the churn of slush,
the drum of snow turned to firn.

You’ve heard the grind of ice,
the freezing of leads
and clefts crushed shut

so herd the brash
ice, the growlers and bergy bits.
It’s time to drill the Dipper,
prod Polaris from the floe,
sculpt a sky for the sunk.

Your shift begins with the shift
of calving giants, hear:

the cello moans and wails,
the frail whimpers of silver shivered
fish, whispers of glaciers,
and the glazed,
crazed ice and
those who’d go insane
without the stars.

Sea Souvenir

by Sarah James

More alien than five-pointed fish:
an echinoderm now dried of life,
its sandy skin like hardened dunes.

Imagine it once as more than
tourist keepsake: a creature
of natural regeneration,

with breathing marine feet
that have walked ocean floors
deeper than imagination,

lived beyond tidal dreams
and guided wreck-happy divers
to where the sky was last drowned…

Brittle memory of lives
which have flickered past,
this asteroidea reminds me

that we’re all nothing less or more
than strange flesh flowers
shaped by bone and dust.

Thornback Ray
Found on Filey beach

by Wendy Pratt

I

The fear is in the unrecognizable;
how the head is parted from the body
and the body from the wings. The ease
of separation is sickening.

My brain struggles to recognize a thing
in pieces; has learnt that healthy things
are whole, broken things are dangerous.
This dismemberment is a head on a spike,

the gap in train tracks, is running
with scissors, a chain saw being wielded.
It quickens me and draws my eyes back up
to Carr Naze, Filey Brigg, the solid rocks and cliffs.

II

I find the ray’s head the next day.
Now I recognize it.
Even without its body and tail,
the slope of it, the pointed snout
and sand-paper skin are as familiar
as the playful rays I worked with
at the Sea Life Centre.
Now this dead thing has a nose
that could nudge a hand, goat-eyes
in its empty eye holes that might have watched
a girl cleaning an aquarium tank.

III

The sea is an excited dog, bringing me gifts.
The tail washes up to my feet on day three
alongside a perfect piece of white vertebrae.
The spikes, ridging the scrap of wiry skin,
seem pitiful and frail against death. I think
of the crisped edge of fried haddock.
I won’t eat fish for weeks. I take the bone home,
bleach it. I will have it on my desk, a curiosity,
a talking point. I put it in a drawer instead.

Antarctica: as seen on TV

by Wes Lee

A seal pup encrusted with starfish
in the clearest of water,

he is clearly eaten,
clearly being dead

but dead in such clear water
seems like uber death

death in 3D
death in close-up;

the ice shelf above
with its mountainous dark

and all that warm blood that sails beneath
leaving its scratches

as if dangled hooks.
And I always wonder why

the sea is so turquoise, gathered that way:
the swimming pools of icebergs

with their cool opaque clarity
like no colour anywhere else

in nature;
more California than California.

 

First published in Blackmail Press, Issue 41, December 2015.

Poet Biographies:

Laura M Kaminski is Poetry Editor and Editor of the digital chapbook series at Praxis Magazine Online. She is also on the editorial team at Right Hand Pointing. She is the author of several poetry collections and chapbooks, including Anchorhold which is forthcoming at the end of 2016.

Pippa Little is a poet, editor, reviewer and creative writing workshop leader. Twist, her second full collection, is forthcoming from Arc. She lives in Northumberland with her husband, sons and dog and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Newcastle University.

Sara Wilson is a graduate of Vancouver Island University, earning her BA with a major in Creative Writing. Her poems have appeared in Portal, Dinosaur Porn, and Slim Volume, with more poetry slated for publication in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. Stay up to date by visiting sarawilsonpoet.wordpress.com and following her on twitter @SaraWilsonPoet

Sarah James is a prize-winning poet, journalist, short fiction writer and photographer, with collections including plenty-fish (Nine Arches Press) and the Overton Poetry Prize winning sequence Lampshades & Glass Rivers. Her Forward Prize highly commended collection The Magnetic Diaries (KFS) toured as a poetry-play in 2016. She also runs V. Press.

Wendy Pratt lives in Filey, North Yorkshire. She has been widely published in journals and magazines and has a pamphlet and a full collection with Prolebooks. Her latest pamphlet, Lapstrake, is published by Flarestack Poets. She is currently studying towards a PhD with Hull university and is poetry correspondent for Northern Soul.

Wes Lee lives in New Zealand. Her debut poetry collection Shooting Gallery (Steele Roberts) was launched in August 2016. She was the recipient of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award, New Zealand’s foremost award for the short story. Her poems have appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry London, Magma, Westerly, New Writing Dundee, Landfall, The Stony Thursday Book, Cordite, Riptide, and many other journals.

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