J V Birch

Originally published 4th May 2022



Jenny Pagdin

Before the market town with the Pepper Pot building

and the concrete bus station and its standing water,
we were Hampshire, Beirut and Freetown
with neat shelves of Vimto, ivory, Milupa,
of Milton, tie-dyes, pink almonds and sugarcane.
I picture my poor legs straddling the continents
and note that I come missing certain accessories:
my birthright languages, my dowry earrings,
my baptismal faith, etiquette,
history and certainty of acceptance.
I was born into do well, say grace, press your clothes,
into an English market town hawking
wolf fleeces and salwar kameez
where the girls drink spritzers and the men, pints
and I’ve tried, I’ve tried to leave.

Originally published 21st September 2022


Holly Bars

Originally published 10th January 2023