When I remember
the white paint of the door frame
it’s not my tiny 8-year-old hands that grip it,

steadying the spinning top of my chest.
It’s not with those hands I feel the squeak of paint
under fingertips, not with that thumb I brush the knot of wood,
visible through the white like a half-healed bruise.

It’s my 25-year-old palm,
my self-gifted watch catching on its sharp edged tooth
blocking the splintery bite.

Years later I lacquer paint onto a different door frame
in a different house,
black plastic bristles drawing smooth lines
like a zen garden rake.
The frame underneath is smooth, I notice,

great care has been taken to soften and sand it.
‘We’ve worked out the knots,’ he says, holding up his brush,
‘so they won’t bleed through.’



Alle Bloom is a poet and social statistician who spends their time searching for patterns in both numbers and words.




God Makes Me Promises

Where are you?  I ask
as I touch the screen
scrolling photos videos
watching is a crime
white phosphorus
raining on lost babies
are you here?
the sky is so blue
birds are chirping
yesterday is dead
with everyone in it.
The earth moves like a wild tide.

You’ll find me
right here under your seat
one of these days you’ll find me
when you’re hoovering the dirt
from under
dried pieces of food
breadcrumbs rolled up with dust
dead spiders and moths
you’ll see my face next to the hose
sucking up all the pain.



Mariam Saidan is a Specialist Advocate for Women’s Rights and has worked as a Children’s Rights Advocate, studied Human Rights Law at Nottingham Universality and Creative Writing at Kent University. She was born in London, and has lived in Iran, France, and the UK. She wrote her first journal at 8 years old while travelling with her family in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. Her pamphlet ‘Far From Home’ is due to be published in 2024 and her most recent publications can be found at Kent Review, Ink Sweat & Tears and The Broken Spine.