Flying to Reykjavik
I’ve been here hours. Sharing air
with a factory of lawyers, a dead-eyed clerk,
a bored, squinting judge and you. Stacks
of files, a new party wall, divide us.
In this windowless box excess words
are trying to escape. They bounce round
the walls getting louder and louder until
I snatch one “marriage” and fly up to the ceiling,
making myself very small (like Alice) and escape
through a vent in the wall. I have a plan
to take the word back to where it all began
(the garden, do you remember the garden?
Its love-in-a-mist, its gazebo where we almost
kissed?) but as I glide across the darkening sky
I see you, the lawyers, the clerk and the judge
swooping after me shouting (more words):
Catch her, she’s stealing the marriage. Which is odd
because I thought you didn’t want it? So I drop
the marriage (it was getting heavy anyway)
and fly on and on and on to Reykjavik,
to drink burned wine and toss
your ring into a lava pit.
Estelle Price is the winner of the 2021 Welsh Poetry Competition. Her poetry has been placed/listed in the National Poetry Competition, Bridport Prize, and other competitions. Poems have appeared in Poetry Wales, The Lake, Marble Poetry and the Alchemy Spoon. Instagram @estellehelen Twitter @EstelleHPrice
Girl Golem Wonders What to Wear
Her golem body is obliged to
step into stockings, strap on a skirt that exposes
the pink gash between her legs.
She longs for trees and dungarees,
struggles to cross ankles, tuck legs
to the side, knees together, hands folded.
She feels welcome as a hornet at a hen party.
Aged five, behind the garden shed,
she tried to scoop out a pear penis to wear,
attempted to stick it onto her tiny bud,
like the rest of her, it didn’t fit.
When men whistle, she dons a monkey-grin,
In bed, she displays moans in all the right places.
She tries to imagine wheeling a baby golem in a pram, but
decides golems are best left solo.
Rachael Clyne from Glastonbury, says, being Jewish and lesbian was a double whammy in a different era. Her pamphlet Girl Golem (4Word.org) explores her migrant heritage. Her next collection, You’ll Never Be Anyone Else, explores all these identity issues.
Note: The golem was a mythical man made from clay to protect Jews from persecution.
Be Careful What You Wish
As a girl I learnt to wish myself
invisible on the front seat
atop a double decker bus
believed I was a black hole choking
on gossipy fug Players smoke lonely
women’s sighs the clippie perceiving no-one
where I sat lumbered back along the aisle
past the ‘no spitting on buses’ sign
In a spin of schools quick to switch
as a card sharp’s chicanery or
my mother’s mood taunts zephyr soft
couldn’t break me for I wasn’t there
I applied myself to investigating
emptiness convinced I was the pause
in music between thoughts air
in the hollow bones of birds
a missive spun from clouds
by a swift more luminous than pity
understood by those alone with senses
more than five
Having banished myself dismantled
tooth hair child’s spaniel yelp
grown flimsier than my granny’s ghost
I established how to melt through walls
Day by day my photo on the mantle faded
bleached features growing fainter
like an often-laundered stain
dissolving to a blur
Years on in Regents Park there was a man
with eyes that looked I tried to wish myself
anew re-embody muscle flesh
plumping over sternum lips
All I managed was a hand flaccid
as a starling fallen from the clouds
that man casting not a clout left me
string-less kite adrift
Bridport Poetry Prize 2021 longlistee. Pratibha Castle, born in Ireland, lives in W. Sussex. Her award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds and A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Poetry Press) comes out this year. pratibhacastlepoetry.wordpress.com
In which a Disease and her Treatments speak
Goddess of Dysmenorrhoea, I am robed
in crimson, shining like liver: a rust-slick,
twisting. I am thigh-streak, gut-knife,
the quiver of blood-clots, jellyfish soft.
Tearing the belly, a rip of inside-outness,
arrows shooting the length of your legs –
I am stench of iron, viciously denticular,
the unignorable gnawing that leaves you
~ Tranexamic Acid ~ Prostap ~ Cocodamol ~
~ Provera ~ Zoladex ~ Danazol ~
laser / laparoscopy
polypectomy / hysteroscopy
dilation & curettage / fibroidectomy
oophorectomy / embolization
Consider the womb as a pocket you’re not using.
You’ve never needed it; what are you losing?
No blame attached. It’s not of your choosing,
this barrenness. Really, what are you losing?
It’s keyhole, day-care, some minor bruising,
a few stitches. Ask yourself: what am I losing?
You are polypoid, fibroidal, a useless oozing
of uterine tissue. That’s something worth losing.
It’s only a pocket, and one you’re not using:
a sad, empty pocket. So what are you losing?
Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society’s Poet-in-Residence, and is widely placed and published. She is currently researching a PhD in meteorological poetry at Birmingham City University. A pamphlet of collage poetry inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals – Something so wild and new in this feeling – was published by V. Press in March 2021. Website: sarahdoyle.co.uk