Mole Understands my Grief

She digs into soft earth in search of solace and slugs.
I slide into the bathtub below the tidal line.

We’re solitary. In enclosed space. Time slips.
Down plughole or into soil. My mother ages.

I’m dim sighted by how this crushes me
until the years of tunnelling end

and I am standing on firm ground
again. Mole buries my broken heart

where, cradled in dried grasses and leaves,
its muscle fertilises ancient woodland

to grow like a child in need of an oak’s shade.
Mole mixes Mum’s ashes with her burrowing.

afterwards returns to living with, eating worms
I find my ageing parent resting inside my soul.


Maggie Mackay’s debut collection A West Coast Psalter was published by Kelsay Books in early 2021. Impspired Press published her second collection The Babel of Human Travel in December 2022. She reviews poetry collections at The Friday Poem.




Window Water Baby Moving
after Stan Brakhage

I’m afraid of becoming a mother.
It’s not the choice, but the process:
stuffed like a turkey, with doctor’s

milky hands squeezing to flicker,
my body as a tight bloodshot eye,
reluctant to open, my baby’s head

as the white of that eye. Big, tiny,
the head gifted with fine lanugo;
a peach being wrung through one

of the sells of a new fishnet bag.
Milk hands continuing. My body
strained, a purpling djembe drum.


Yara Stepurova is a Lancaster University graduate (ELCW, 2021) and an emerging author, whose latest publication can be found in issue 3 of swim press. Her favourite poet is Fiona Benson. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @yara_ya_slava.





“Mutterkuchen” is German for placenta, and the word’s individual parts translate as mother (Mutter), and cake (Kuchen). 

You gained five stones with me, I thickened
your bones, you told me with leaden brows.

Nougat and cake bewitched your hazel eye
and full lip with me starving your placenta.

Then I burst out of you, fat and greedy, you fed me
the sweet tooth, too: each year you made that choc-dripping

gateau for my birthday, seven dwarfs of sugar dough
cheering me on— I was only Snow White until I dug in.

You never lost the croissants you puffed up for me, and then
my sister came: buttered by two sweet daughters you gave in,

tossed out the scales and spreadsheets, carefree and almost joy
in the art of baking cakes, lifting yourself up to new tiers,

while I measured the width of my waist and thighs,
weighed your creations in my belly after each celebration.

Today, no longer cursing my cravings, I’d get on a plane
to sit with you and feast on your birthday gateau. I can swallow

the love you fed me from the very first day, and every
soft pouch of yours is warmer than all the candles on the cake.


Christina Hennemann is the author of the poetry pamphlet Illuminations at Nightfall (Sunday Mornings at the River, 2022). Her work is published in The Moth, fifth wheel, Campfire Poets, orangepeel, Tír na nÒg and elsewhere. She is based in Ireland and currently working on a novel. You can find her website here.