New Year 2022

Lips kissed at midnight, we skitter home, twist
off rimy pavements like kittens on black ice, think
how returning takes forever.

We try to squint at the twelvemonth ahead
but our eyeballs are bobbed plums, rollicking
spirit-levels trying to align with the new horizon.

Dawn revellers ghosting streetlamps,
we bleach into mizzle, like chill breaths
released on remand.

We’ve left the old year out for the night things
to gnaw at, only they can strip its bones.
We’ll keep them in a tin to rattle at ill winds.



Kathryn Alderman – is a (vintage!) MA student of Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. She’s widely published, most recently in 14 Magazine. She is working on her first collection of ecopoetry.




Last Christmas

For days, she floated
above the bed,

scribbling invitations
in the ether
while she slept.

More and more
she was drawn
to emptiness,

rustling through old boxes
discarded wrappings,
blister packs –

fingers pushing at nothing,
swallowing unseen pills.

Sometimes she’d sit at the table,
stirring her invisible tea, eating
imaginary food

as her appetite for nothing
grew by the day.

One by one,
we faded
from her life.

Like photos un-developing,
we disappeared from sight,

spirited back into the lens
of the old camera,
the click of a finger,
the portal of an eye,
the thought of a picture,
and away into the air,

to be known only to her
as a passing draught,
or a wind in the chimney.

Sometimes we were windows
she looked through

as she waited
for her host
of invisible visitors.

Ghosts of Christmas past,
she closed the door on us

and stood with her guests
admiring the absent tree

and the beautiful lights
only they could see.



Joanne Key lives in Cheshire. She loves poetry and short fiction. Previous prizes include: 2nd prize in the 2014 National Poetry Competition and the 2016 Charles Causley Prize. She is also a past winner of the Hippocrates Open Prize, Mslexia Short Story Competition and the Buzzwords Poetry Prize. This year she won the Working Class Nature Writing Prize.




What Snow Invokes

Snow becomes


as we fell, a brief
and tactile magic. Magnify each
to satisfy our lack:

we desire detail.

Keen enough
to count every flake,
let us remake that winter night
and scroll through its sequence endlessly
until what’s frozen burns us.



Fiona Larkin’s debut pamphlet, A Dovetail of Breath, is available from Rack Press and Vital Capacity is forthcoming in February 2022 from Broken Sleep Books. Her work was highly commended in the Forward Prizes 2019. She manages innovative poetry projects with Corrupted Poetry and tweets @fionalarkin