Issue #40

And Then They Asked Me,

Irene Watson

What do you do of a daytime? Well, mostly I am in the kitchen: beating imaginary dust-filled rugs, hands in the air; singing out of tune, in rhythm; accusing newsreaders of heresy; buying candy-floss-pink accessories for colour-blind house pets. And, well, I: disguise teapots in their knitted dresses; floss teeth until sinks splat of last meal’s debris (okay that’s in the bathroom); store disconnected items in secret drawers like a black kite’s predator-warning; build-build pretty dens in my head for strangers, imagine taking their cash; wait for fishermen to gut intestines, talk recipes of thin-grey-veiled langoustines; stop the island spinning on its axis; fail to keep things in pairs (socks, cruet sets, husbands and wives); mop the mud that seeps through; wonder whether the old man who slipped will be okay. Clear spaces just clear spaces to fill with collections.

Irene Watson is a mid-career artist, poet, and art teacher, based in rural Perthshire. She uses text and poetry within her artwork, which has been exhibited in the UK, America, and New Zealand, as well as in pop-up community spaces in Scotland. Watson has edited poetry anthologies written with adults with disabilities and has co-written two touring plays. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Gone Lawn, The Dillydoun Review, Words for the Wild, Cateran Eco Museum, Pendemic, Friday Flash Fiction, Poetry Space’s Locked Down anthology, Dreich, and Whales of Arcadia. She is currently compiling her first poetry pamphlet. Find more of Irene's work at or on Twitter.

Tableau with Flooding

Kali Norris

It’s been raining for weeks, and I haven’t eaten in days, and

the only other sound in the world is my mother’s wracking coughs.

The bougainvillea is brighter than anything else on this earth,

and it is too humid for mirages, but this space is still liminal, thorny,

and starving as an open grave. Carefully, water dripping from my hair,

I trim each barb still living, before cutting the branch free and enshrining it

on my mother’s dining table.

Kali is a writer and poet from New York. Previous credits include Construction and JMWW. Find more about Kali on Instagram and Twitter.