The Ninth Day

It could have been any day—you in the

doorway   one hand in your pocket  one

still on  the wheel      the road:  a fluster

of birds  your daughter: at one end  lick-

ing her wounds    you at the other  Lord

of the Doorway—but  it happened to be

the ninth     the ninth wave    nine ladies

dancing   nine little Indians   Beethoven

and more    Which one to choose?   you

too   bore a wound    regret burning to a

tiny core   The ladies! you cried   as you

opened the door  a waltz  a tango  a pas

de deux   you embraced the darkest soul

of the group   and danced together  until

nights were days  and news came of the




Scott Elder lives in France. His work has mainly appeared in the UK and Ireland. His second collection, Maria was published this year by Erbacce Press and a third, ‘My Hotel’, is due in 2025 by Salmon Poetry in Ireland.




Winter Soup

Heating borscht while the snow hits,
makes me think I’m a bit-player
in a Russian novel; the fat cook
or the mother who has to eke the last
of the beets to feed her hungry girls.

But I set the table for two only,
blue bowls from Crail, the wedding spoons.
I catch the solstice in my hands,
pass it to you. There will be light again
on both of us; and gently falling snow.



Lynn Valentine’s debut collection, Life’s Stink and Honey, was published by Cinnamon Press in 2022 after winning their literature award. Her Scots language pamphlet, A Glimmer o Stars, was published by Hedgehog Press in 2021. She lives in the Highlands.




The Stars are Clays

Because I didn’t listen in science
or had forgotten that stars were big balls of gas,
I told you that under a silenced moon
an unnamed god had taken aim
then fired.

I told you that they followed
each upward trajectory
after hearing someone’s cry
of Pull.

I said, the stars are clays
held by the galaxy,
to pattern the darkness
for you and me.
They have been shot
into smithereens
and are shining there now for us.

Even though I knew the sun was a star,
that the shine had something
to do with immense pressure
changing hydrogen to helium,
even though I could have told you
that there were hundreds of billions of them out there
I didn’t.

All I was actually sure of was that
I needed to stand in the darkness
with you.

Will you lift your eyes and look with me?



Sue Finch’s first collection of poetry, Magnifying Glass, was published in 2020. Her work has also appeared in a number of online magazines. She loves the coast, peculiar things and the scent of ice-cream freezers. You can often find her on Twitter @soopoftheday.