Tessa Van De Walker

Time Unbound

Time has been my enemy for as long as I can remember. Frustrated, I am bound by it, even as I form words and have breath to write this very thought down. I am bound. I cannot shake it. It cannot be solved. My brow sinks, my wrinkles deepen, my fingers curl, and I cannot change the very rhythm that gives breath to human existence. But with rhythm comes daylight and the sugar maple shadows that tickle at my nose. With rhythm comes the cooling of hot coffee, and the healing of a burnt and bitter tongue. With rhythm comes rest, and dreams tinted in reds and oranges while the bat navigates the haunting richness of evergreen night. Because without the rhythm of time, the scent of crushed peppermint would not travel with me back to my grandfather’s woollen suit jacket – its itch never shying me away from his wise embrace. The cuckoo bird would cry, but would leave me forgotten, never having connection to the rusty playset from nanny’s fairytale backyard. The mirror would stand still, as would I, and the wooden stool never would have been crafted from my father’s callused hands. Markings on walls would vanish with height unrecorded; lamps would remain everbright and undying, leaving candles unlit; closets of sheets would not carry the smell of dust and young age; relationships would remain stagnant, neither pushing nor pulling, loving nor losing. Riverbeds would remain shallow and mountaintops would stand still. All would be as it is, and time would have no say. Time unbound is not all-knowing nor compatible with the inner workings of the human mind. True freedom, true life, requires time to give it meaning, and time to give it hope. The soft leather watch that graces my wrist, keeps in cadence to the breath in my lungs, the color on my mind, the life coursing through my veins. With its metronomic body, I sit in the sadness of the summer solstice passing into autumn mourning. I sit here as the sun slips into slumber, the stars wink ahead, and I prepare my ever-shifting gears for a new day’s birth.



Tessa Van De Walker is a Calvin University graduate and lives in Michigan as a plein air oil painter and art consultant. Her fascination with trees gives color to her paintings and expression to her poetry. The Ginkgo is her favorite.

Margaret Galvin

The Idea of Wyoming

My first published work, a paraphrased attempt

to describe a visit to Yellowstone Park, Wyoming

in The Bunty letter’s page circa 1970.

My father hoped that this effort,

copied from my fifth class English book,

prefigured a career in Reuters, read it aloud

to neighbours who marvelled at ‘foreign words’,

images of a geezer  throwing

thousands of gallons of searing water from the earth.

Such a prodigal geothermal wonder.


His voice boiled and rumbled with the marvel

of the spectacle, the lavish and frantic splendour.

He was taken with the fantasy but prouder still to be cast

as  a man who could  conceivably bring his family to America,

negotiate airports and highways,

his tanned arm leaning from the window

of a hired car as he placed a continent  at our disposal.


His wonder was that I could even dream of it,

be daring enough to put it in writing.



Margaret Galvin is an Irish poet, living in Wexford.  She has been writing and publishing poetry for over thirty years.  A regular writing group facilitator, she has a special interest in how poetry functions therapeutically for self-understanding.

L. Beevor

The Meaning of Silence

            I met her in Chemistry last September.  We were the only new kids in the class so the teacher sat us next to each other.  “Hi, I’m Melissa,” she said, lifting her right hand in a wave, a bit like a policeman stopping traffic. She was different to the other girls who sniggered and giggled in groups before class started, tongues flicking like lizards. Melissa was quiet, had a head-in-the-clouds feel to her. As she glided between classes her blonde ponytail swung across her back; the other boys watched her too.

            In October, she stopped talking to me. Dad said she was just playing hard to get. “Stay on her, Son, till she surrenders,” he said, “how I got your Mum.” Mum isn’t around any longer so I can’t ask her. 

            Melissa still wrote me messages though, scribbled on pieces of paper she’d ball up and drop in the bin for me to collect: her address; her initials; my initials; hearts; balloons. That was her way of letting me know we had a connection; she didn’t want everyone else knowing because they’d just bug us. I was cool with that. For her birthday I left a heart-shaped balloon tied to her locker. I didn’t need to tell her it was from me; she knew.

            In November, Melissa joined basketball on Thursdays. I took up karate at the same time on the mezzanine above the sports hall; you get a good view from there. In December, she gave up basketball and took up squash. I joined the table tennis club; most weeks I’d pick up a game on the table outside her court. In January, Melissa gave up squash and took up swimming; the girls only session. 

            In April, just before exams, they printed our year book: our pictures sat side by side. “It’s a sign, Son, go on, she’s yours for the taking!” whooped Dad, slapping me on the shoulder before turning back to the PlayStation.

            She left school straight after exams: apparently she’d been invited to a summer camp for gifted and talented students. So I started walking by her house; nothing wrong with that, it was another way home for me.  I never saw her, never saw anyone. Until yesterday morning when a man in jeans and a white t-shirt stepped out of the front door, fists by his sides. He stared at me as I walked past: the same almond eyes, the same thick, blonde hair.  “Don’t come near here again,” he shouted. I looked up at the windows, saw a curtain swing. I thought of that heart-shaped balloon, bobbing up against the ceiling of the corridor, out of reach. If I couldn’t have her, I’d get a pin and pop her so nobody else could.



L. Beevor has worked in the arts for 20+ years. Her writing has been short-listed for the John O’Connor Short Story Award 2018, short and long-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and The Short Story Flash 400, has been published in Community Arts Partnership Anthologies and online as part of the 26 Armistice project in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, London. She has zig-zagged the globe thanks to work, study and family and currently lives in Belfast.

Eimear Laffan; Contiguity



It’s winter.


Schopenhauer describes how during this cold season

porcupines nestle together

to find warmth

only to experience

the pain of one another’s



The dilemma presupposes

an optimal distance

and so the animals move

back and forth

in search

of a bearable closeness.




I didn’t know

at certain times in the Arctic

there is no horizon,

nothing to separate

earth from sky.


You didn’t tell me.                                                                             




I am only wanting

to reconcile (inside my skin),


to arrest the tissue

of language.                                (Oh I know this desire will return to haunt me).


One of these days

one of these I’s

will spy

a well-lit street sign


and reclaim the throat.




The weather hardly matters. 

What matters is this:

a morning is no longer

a missing, my skin

no longer subject

to spines.


Last night I saw a cat in my sleep. The dream book urges caution, declares cats to be gentle when they want to be.  Oh dream, you are beyond late to this party. Perhaps my unconscious was biding its time, recognising my inclination to disregard detail that refused to sit comfortably inside my carefully constructed story.   


How do I say I am culling a residual

that is alive in me?


How do I say I am mapping

an incessant egress

as I stare at the coffee

sand acrylic canvas

to remind myself


what materiality is made of? 


And if I say I do,

how do I?




In the bottle green library, I run

my fingertips along the spines

of books that have been touched

by more hands than will ever touch me.


Desire nascent beneath the crust.


Inside the sealed glass of my body

the red line of mercury once more poised

to rise, to ground

the circularity. 


The smallest shift speaks eloquently.


See the variety of blues the sky expresses

any leased day.


Look. Just look. 




A single photograph doesn’t speak

like a sequence. Resonance

has its own mouth, its own tongue.


No spots of time rest in the accretion.


The surface of memory effaced,

how the pumice grates hard skin.


Only the softness remains now:


early spring,

the first runnel reacquainting

itself with the fissure,


to fill it in.


Here now is where articulation begins.



Eimear Laffan, Tipperary born, lives and writes in the mountains of British Columbia where it is, of course, snowing. 

Cara McCaughey: Which one wins/The one you feed




Cara McCaughey graduated from Belfast School of Art in 2014 having studied Textile Art, Design and Fashion with particular emphasis on embroidery. She is inspired by stories and the flora and fauna of Northern Ireland. Her work consists of screen printed, heavily hand embroidered repeat patterns which are inspired by her self-written narratives. She strives to blur the boundaries between art, craft and design with her highly illustrative style of drawing fused with her historically inspired hand embroidery.

Ariel Dawn

Nine Storeys Above Inner City
Torn dresses, sarongs and bedclothes hang over autumn, shadows of stone churches,
clock above market, sunshine alien lights of an operating theater. Close my eyes
and I shrink, grow, small as pen nib, then ink spilling from swollen lids. I have lived
here for months and the room is still confused with whiskey boxes. My love
left me a linen nightdress and diary. Covers my lap, distressed leather, it opens,
hemlock forest where trees bleed and I float between lines (paper cuts before the end
or even the stars), it closes with belts and metal and long pin on a string.



Ariel Dawn lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Her poems appear in places such as Ink Sweat & Tears, Ambit, Paper Swans, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and are forthcoming in Elbow Room, Canthius, (parenthetical), A Furious Hope. She is studying Tarot and finishing her first collection of poems.

Ben Ryan




Ben Ryan is an American but lives in Killarney, Co. Kerry. He is a visual artist, illustrator and printmaker. He studied with the American Academy of Art in Chicago in the early 90’s. He then went to work as a scenic artist producing backdrops and murals for the advertising and film industries. He is an independent artist looking to freelance.

Ben tends to pull ideas from various sources such as film, music, literature and history. He is currently working on a graphic novel and preparing for an exhibition in the autumn.