by Namya Naresh

Gravitation and gratification, ruled their bodies

like pendulums they swung, back and forth

The lines of the city were masters of their souls.

The lines of the city were the creators of their homes.

Redundancy, hypocrisy, autonomy

‘What’s mine is yours, Honey!’

They lied to one another.

‘Life is good,’ they lied to themselves.

The darkness in which the city now lived

harboured, haggard, almost killed

the joy of the sun and the magic of the soul.

Their warm bodies were their only familiar home.

Every sunset pulled on their heartstrings

for every sunrise meant another day had begun.

She grew older and he grew sadder.

An empty nursery and elegant mourning.

At the very end came the snow, radiant and pure

a blanket of white upon the darkness below

with it the light of a new day, warming hearts with its cold,

whispering new beginnings into the lost and forlorn.

She awoke to a new world that morning. A pure world. At least on the surface. While she lay in the comfort of her dreams, the snow had tucked the city in a blanket of white. As she looked out the window she saw that her big city had finally become the snowy English town she had always dreamt of. With it’s white rooftops, salted trees and cushioned roads. After months of slowly losing the magic of the city, it was rich and luscious around her again. She ran down and soaked it all in. She touched the snow on the floor that turned to ice as her warm hands gripped it tight. She could feel it inside her. Pure happiness.

But the sky slowly lost its light the snowfall began to stagger and soon its crystals stopped plunging from above. As the invisible sun began to set, the snow began to melt and the magic slowly weakened.

She closed her eyes, felt the last of the snow on her face and held on to the magic of the moment. For fear that, if she kept her eyes open for too long, the magic might disappear and it would all be just tedious snow like it was for the Londoners bustling around her. That afternoon, as darkness took over the city the purity washed away with the rain as though it had never been there in the first place.

Family Tree

by Naseema Khanom

I spy on the neighbour’s garden

an apple tree, six foot three

with perfect ripe reds and greens

growing towards the heavens.

Every spring without fail

doctors, lawyers

and pharmacists blossom

on every stem.


It is a mighty sight to behold

roots so strong, resilient

the rich soil, bountiful.

The good apples run wild

whilst the bad ones are left at home.


Week after week

wedding invitations jam the letterbox

saris, flaunted

sharp suits, rented

laughter, song and dances are rehearsed one after one.

Painted smiles are then packed away for the day

in the trunk of an aunty’s hefty kameez collection.


Windows wide open the Adhan begins to play

I look at their glistening white gate

and wonder what secrets are veiled.

On the ground lies a popped football,

a broken doll misses her head.

It only takes one to swipe the blade.


I wondered if the whispers are true

that the good son is hiding a bastard child

or that the daughter has ran away with a Chinese man.

The branches will not reach that far

her mother searches the map

and is met with strange names

and decided that the roots will rot.


I can’t live without him, he’s the one.

Hushed and chided

the family loudly divided

No tears flow for the wayward child

as she swings the sharp axe splintering its heart.

Picture courtesy of Qasim Alam. 


Homesick Blue

By John Philip Gething

Homesick Blue
It is that sense of home,
that almost grieving addiction
a place.
Stitched into the fabrics,
sewn to its walls that
drip a color of youth. Like vines.
We painted the walls pinstriped
Blue when we moved in.
american yankees.
I was seven years old. Would have my
own bed for the first time,
everything a parent works for.
Love was present, always.
We fought that house to the
ground and screamed at it to stay
together. Shouting matches.
In one piece,
a part of it.

I am weariness of the night,
playing cricket ballads
in a moonlight smoke

to sounds of country sleep,
sullen dreams, a finely lit home.
The crying night
sees me
stoned, a
sad music. The barn
we stored all belief
in a craft,
played our heart
and drank of romance.
It’s all covered in dust now.
Brotherhood is
lupine, blood and wolves.
Remembering that time,
the laughing over
and struggling for breath.
We are the lively ones
in the forgetfulness of death.

Away I part, a stranger.
In new walls, material white
and boring.
Shapes all the same.
City lined sky
now the trees
shaking their seeds
to the dirt. Water. Needs water.
But rain falls different. A
mist in your eyes, tearing before
you cry.
But a blur, good enough to
hue the light and hurt.
Soon, I will build a house
of skin and bone, and love her
growing old.
She is amnesia. I have no sense of
but within
Here and then I miss
my pretty home.
That sadness lives
as long as the day
we mourn for,
wanting light to return.
Then I hear the voice, and It
looks to me. With the same eyes,
in a pinstriped Blue shirt, against
a portrait of fire.
Our music is exchange of breath,
Still beating.

Two Women

by Emily Rath


A call across the ocean

unmuffled by the waves

a bridge at midnight reaches

to the other in the light of day


Her voice like a joyful sparrow

although her winter’s just come

the spattering of a snowy rain

obstructing half the sun


Sadness stained on white pillows

Black feathers reach for prayer

One lies weak in a tiny bed

the other’s in a doctor’s chair




stage 1.







is it an




is it a

Passing Storm?


she bathes in blue waters

moves golden light within

hears whispers, wild and knowing

from the Colorado Mountains


Prayers and knots in her belly

the other wakes with sweat

Monday waiting

Tuesday cries

days built on prayer and unrest


when did the word lump become poison?

a lump of sugar tells all

evil and white, seductive demon

feeding the winter through fall


a plane crosses the ocean


Mother and daughter embrace

the bridge built in the darkness

holds light on Hope’s young face


Two women eat in the kitchen

the birds and cats don’t answer

the Mother smiles and cries from joy

with Love, she’ll cure her cancer.