Mars is bright tonight
These are my new cordless eyeballs:
no gloopy strings attached
untethered, loosed from my skull
compact, lightly veined, two floating globes
raring to take on the big globe –
they lose GPS
won’t take direction just buzz
again and again to the block of flats
where it happened
hover eagerly at the doorway
slurping up the tired metal buzzers
the flaking paint, the car park
that I am so fucking sick of looking at
then slip inside
nip up to the room itself
slop uselessly on the floor
pointing themselves up
at the off-white plaster, the dead corners
that exact same angle.
I’ve tried resetting them
but the stupid things won’t budge
won’t stop looking
and all I can do now is wait
for a clear October sky
head down with a telescope, whisper
Mars is bright tonight
come out, little eyes
put on this lens
and you’ll see that orange star
become a disc, a battle god
a cold old world
we’ll do galaxies next
the Orion Nebula
come take a look
at a universe that is tangible, fathomless
studded with heat
and brimming with new-born light
Becki Hawkes is a writer and former journalist. She has had short plays performed, poems published in magazines and one published as part of London’s Poems on the Underground and, when younger, was shortlisted for the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition. Instagram: @beckihawkes
Every time she moved house
she had wrapped it carefully,
taken it in the car
rather than trust it to a van
or a stranger.
On the day it happened
she was totally shocked;
before this impossible jigsaw mess
splintered on the floor
it had held firm.
I had no idea, she defended
as hindsight began to gloat.
But there had been so many signs
right before her eyes.
Polish that didn’t quite get the specks off
because when you ran a fingernail over them
they were never really dust or dirt.
The way swapping polish for glass cleaner
was no more effective
even though it turned
the windscreen of your car invisible.
The day you ran your finger round the edge
and persuaded yourself to dismiss the bulging.
When you thought it was your hair turning grey
that was dulling the silver
you were putting the blame
in the wrong place.
And when you tried to wipe off those stray hairs
they were cracks in the making.
It had been crying out for you to notice;
had been showing you day after day.
Think how much it held;
what you made it hold.
Did you really imagine
all that could just stay in there?
All those bad hair cuts,
yellow tongue Mondays,
the eyebrows you couldn’t shape
the check, check, recheck before you went out the door,
the night you didn’t drive over despite being begged,
that intense lean you had with your palms either side
as though you were going to headbutt right through.
The way you looked for his forehead, her eyes,
your repetitive begging for it to change you.
There was no way it could contain all that.
Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. She likes all kinds of coasts, peculiar things and the scent of ice-cream freezers. Her first collection will be published in Autumn 2020 with Black Eyes Publishing UK. Twitter link: @soopoftheday
My Neighbour’s Carer
Distracted by wisps of darkness rising
not long after the final phase of twilight,
I unlocked the back door and emerged
to find my neighbour’s carer in the yard.
She was on fire, with streams of smoke
twirling and rising above her in the air.
She smiled – told me she was pleased
to have some company at this moment
and apologised for any alarm she may
have caused. Normally, she would stand
at the end of the garden, but excessive
darkness there had made her insecure.
A cigarette burning was not that much
of a concern, although I was worried
about her lungs, the blend of chemicals
she was inhaling. Some people know
what effect all those unnatural things
would have, coursing through her veins.
Living next door I am not unaffected
by events across the wall: long silence
is no less upsetting than constant noise.
However, we need to be clear – I am not
my neighbour’s carer but, earlier today,
I met the one who is and she was on fire.
Oliver Comins published a full collection (Oak Fish Island) with Templar Poetry in 2018. Recent work has appeared in quite a number of anthologies and magazines, both in print and online.