Natalia Godsmark; The Finale

The finale



I sit in the waiting room, listening.  The cacophony of sounds resonates like a badly rehearsed orchestra:

The mezzo-piano hum of computers,

The strident tick-tocking clock,

The discordant phone ringtones,

The rhythmic banging of doors as doctors and nurses hurry through.

Every now and then the hospital receptionist softly calls out her melodic solo: ‘Mr. so-and-so please.’


When my name is sung I glide, andante, across to my husband, who looks lost and confused.  Music used to be his life.  I suppose it still is…in some ways. 

“All seems to be well, Mrs. Miller.”  The doctor addresses me, his tone implying finality.


I put my arm around Jonathon’s shoulders as I used to hold my cello.  He seems to have shrunk so quickly.  He was once a handsome man; his dark eyes so passionate; his hair so thick. And he held himself confidently.  Now, he’s like a frightened boy; his eyes wide and bewildered, his hair sparse and he hunches over.  I guide him down the corridor, his faltering steps out of sync with the hospital’s rhythm. 


The clouds outside are black and angry.  Thunder crashes above us before the rain begins to fall and my husband starts, his eyes darting around, seeing everything and nothing all at once.  They settle on me and I pull him close as we complete the short walk home.


Our house is warm and cosy when we enter and an expression of relief floods Jonathon’s face.  I sit him in his chair and he watches me, as though I am about to serenade him. I prepare our evening meal and he tunelessly hums an aria to himself. He once knew every word. 


Matthew lollops into the kitchen and pulls out a packet of crisps from the snack drawer.  His hair is unwashed and his clothes are scruffy.  He used to be such a happy child, always smiling.  Not anymore. He flits in and out of our world, his life contrapuntal to ours, perhaps like any 18 year old, though he seems even more distant since Jonathon’s rapid decline.  They don’t say a word to each other, and as I slice and rinse and boil, I sink into a melancholic state of lethargy, listening:

The metrical chomping of my son’s teeth,

The whine of the boiling kettle,

The popping of the bubbles in the saucepan.


Only my husband’s gentle refrain reminds us of how things once were.


Mum and Dad are back from the hospital.  Good.  I’m hungry. 

My friends say I’m not, like, sympathetic enough. That I should spend more time with him, or I’ll regret it later. 

But they don’t know what it’s like. 


He used to be a cool dad.  A bit embarrassing at times with his unfunny jokes and, well, his random dress sense, but he was always up for a laugh. 


She used to be alright too.  Typical mum, telling me off and stuff, but I dealt with it.  Now she hardly ever says a word to me.  She probably thinks I’m, like, disloyal for not wanting to spend every minute with a man who’s losing his mind.  Who knows though?  It’s not like she ever talks about it.  She cooks for him, cleans for him, works 8 hours a day to pay for him and soon, they say, he may not even recognise her.  What’ll happen then?


I can’t – I don’t want – to cope with it.  And soon I won’t have to. Just got to get through the summer. Then I’m off to Edinburgh uni.  Get as far from London as possible.  She’ll let me.  She wants me to be happy, and that’s what’ll do it. 


He won’t even notice I’ve gone.



Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Maria …

I can’t remember what goes next.  Maria plena?  Is that it?  “Sarah what’s the next line? … Yes, I thought so.”


I don’t remember a lot of things anymore.  Don’t know –


We’re eating dinner now.  Sarah’s cooked my favourite.  I love chicken.  “Sarah, I love chicken.”  She’s smiling at me, nodding.  She takes my hand and rubs it. 


Loud noise.  Too loud.  Sarah says, “It’s ok, it’s just the doorbell.  Just the doorbell.” 

She says, “Matthew, go and answer the door.”  He does.  Sarah stays with me and rubs my hand.



Matthew clomps back into the kitchen fortissimo, with his girlfriend Lucy at his heels.  She flashes an awkward smile at me and ignores Jonathon altogether.  The kids speak to each other about the coming weekend while Matthew shovels forkfuls of food in his mouth and chews with his mouth wide open.


Jonathon looks at me not saying a word. 


In a sudden movement that causes Jonathon to flinch, Matthew stands up, his chair legs scraping loudly on the floor.  “We’re off. I’ll be home around midnight,” he says. He doesn’t wait for us to respond.


Jonathon and I resume eating. When we have finished, I guide him back to his chair in the living room and it doesn’t take long before a piano calm fills the room interrupted only by his occasional snores.


And now I wander about my big, empty house; a house that once used to be so full of life, of energy, of happiness.  But more noticeable than the emptiness and worse, by far, is the





Natalia Godsmark recently resigned from her day job as a Compliance Officer in an Asset Management organisation (but she’s a much more interesting person than that makes her sound). She has a one year old and is currently trying her hand at writing flash fiction and short stories. In April this year, she was longlisted for the OhZoe Rising Talent Award with two children’s story manuscripts.

Geneva Pattison; Ram




Currently, Geneva is an editor for the elemental themed zine Three Fates Press.
Through this quarterly publication, she gets to showcase most of her illustrations and poetry. She is a self-taught illustrator and draws a lot of her inspiration from nature. However, she also enjoys exploring gothic and macabre themes in her art. 
If you would like to view some more of her art please go to my Instagram page

Carla Schwartz; Sweet Potato Harvest & String Theory

Sweet Potato Harvest

For the sweet potato on the counter

sprouting roots like a medusa,

dig a hole and bury it

with the rest of your dead —

one root for each enumerated grief:





The leaves begin to blush.

Vines twist and entwine

the fence you built to fend off critters.


Irrigate all summer with a timer,

so you don’t have to attend

on days lean of rain,

and so that ants, too, might enjoy

a bath, while you free yourself

to date, and make an effort this time to draw lines

from the clouds, contrails to your new life,

like the ones your ex sketched so exquisitely on paper,

and wasn’t that potato hers to start with?


When you dig, don’t be surprised if you hit stone.

Plunge your hands into soil, and draw up

your sweet bounty.


String Theory

I heard that a string theorist

named Joe died today,

and I thought of you,

as I do from time to time.


He was apparently

a bit of a nobody,

unless you are an expert

in string theory, like you.


I wondered if you had met Joe,

or collaborated with him

or not.


I’ve heard the term string theory

since grad school,

but never understood it,

never took the time.


We might both have understood at one time,

but you chose the geometric maze traveling, not me.


My string theory might have read something like this:

When you want to remember,

what you try to remember,

when you stare at the bow

tied around your finger.


Some time ago,

back when we hadn’t heard of global warming,

you told me your memory was going.

Your father forgot too,

until he forgot to be angry.


Once a year,

a card from you

lands in my mailbox.

That hasn’t changed.


I still have the dress you made for me

in grad school.

Colors to brighten a gray day —

the Crayola gold of sun,

forest green,

navy blue,

and soil brown.


You hemmed with piping

like an expert,

your first try.


I look like a festival

when I wear those threads.


I won’t say,

I miss you like hell,

but I miss you.


I wonder what story, if any,

I will hear about you,

when you die.



Carla Schwartz is a poet, filmmaker, photographer, and blogger. Her poems have appeared in Aurorean, ArLiJo, Fourth River, Fulcrum, Bluefifth, Common Ground, Cactus Heart, Long Island Review, Mom Egg, Switched-on Gutenberg, Gyroscope, Naugatuck River, Paddock, Solstice, SHARKPACK, Triggerfish, Sweet Tree, Varnish, and Ibbetson Street, among others. Her poem Gum Surgery was anthologized in City of Notions, A Boston Poetry Anthology. Her second collection of poetry, Intimacy with the Wind, is available from Finishing Line Press or Find her debut collection, Mother, One More Thing (Turning Point, 2014) on  Her CB99videos youtube channel has 1,700,000+ views. Learn more at, or or find her @cb99videos. 

Ellen Nic Thomás; An Plúirín Dubh

An Plúirín Dubh

Tú féin,
is do gháire daite,
id’ bhaclóg,
id’ phlúirín,
faoi scáth na gréine,
maidin samhraidh úd,
in aimsir réamhdhorchadais an fhómhair.
Chuir tú lámh id’ lonradh fhéin,
is chaith ar chách id’ chóngaireacht.
Scaip tú síolta sonais,
sa ghaoth go héadrom.
Bhraith mé teocht do mheanma,
chomh te le tine cnámh ar Oíche Shinn Sheáin,
is armóin ár gceol ag séideadh sa leoithne.
Ach leis an ngrianstad,
mheath tú ar aon leis an an solais,
is bhriog mé méar ar do dhealga.
Thit do chuid duilleoga,
is rugadh ort ag fuacht an gheimhridh.



Ellen Nic Thomás is a bilingual Dublin poet. She studied English Literature and Modern Irish at Trinity college. She writes in both English and Irish, and much of her subject matter comes from ideas about culture, language and folklore. She is an avid reader, a language enthusiast, and dabbles in performance. Her work has been published by and The Attic (Dublin University Literary Society annual publication). Her poem, “Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise” is currently being used in a collaborative contemporary musical composition as part of a series put together by the Irish Composers’ Collective. 

Kevin Nolan; Glaucous


I walked a violated mile
down by Kathleen’s with the north wind.
The blood red sky gushed
down like a livery sedative in my brain.
It cups the peaks, folds the final shore line:
a new free state
after the great wars
of eroticism.
I followed the bare knuckles of a frustrated night
I came across a cross roads
and as I watched her flying by
I was shot





but I didn’t die.



Kevin Nolan, Dublin born, holds an honours degree in Pure Philosophy from The Milltown Institute, also received a Philosophy through literature diploma there all in all he spent six years studying Philosophy. He then Studied fine art in the National College of Art and Design in conceptual art and film.  His writing has appeared in, Colony, The Galway Review, Skylight 47, Bard, The Shine Newsletter, Studies, Decanto Magazine / Anthology (England), The Jack Kerouac Family Association Newsletter, Yareah Magazine (Italy), among other journals.  Nolan is also a singer/composer and has been played predominantly by John Kelly on The JK Ensemble. His debut album Fredrick & The Golden Dawn on which he deuts with choice award winning singer Julie Feeney received highly acclaimed reviews both in Ireland and abroad.

Claire Loader; The Long Green Grass

The Long Green Grass - Claire Loader.jpg



Claire Loader was born in New Zealand and spent several years in China before moving to County Galway, where she now lives with her family.  She blogs at www.allthefallingstones.comand is currently writing a memoir. Her work has appeared in Crannóg, Dodging The Rain and Pendora.

Anne McGouran; Elmvale Drive-in Closes After 51 Years

Elmvale Drive-in Closes after 51  Years.JPG



Anne McGouran’s nonfiction appears in The Smart Set, Coachella Review, Journal of Wild Culture, GreenPrints and TRANSITION Magazine and is forthcoming in Queen’s Quarterly. Her short fiction won Special Mention in Fabula Press Short Story Competition. Born in Toronto, Anne resides in Collingwood, Ontario where she has developed a fascination with ice huts and orchard picking ladders. Her photo essays convey the character of a place while weaving in stories about its quirkier inhabitants.

Chaelio Thomas; Neon Love & Polar Bear Swim





Chaelio Thomas is a writer from Dublin, Ireland with a strong family background in County Wexford. She has had creative writing pieces published on, Tales From the Forest, The Honest Ulsterman and in the Olentangy Review and Stony Thursday Book. She mainly writes poetry at the moment. She tweets @Jenanifur.

Róisín Power Hackett; A Sub-Sub Librarian

A Sub-Sub Librarian  

(A cut-up text using Hermann Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’)


I promise nothing complete; A dreadful storm comes on the world, a great hurricane, typhoon, blood and thunder for what seemed ages piled on ages. Afterwards the sun shining, steam smoking, melting icebergs. People were worried to death. Oh, the world! This system would not proceed, the ruins of burnt ground were lost, worn and wrinkled to the swelling flood. What a multitude of things, both large and small, were lost beneath the green fields gone, north, east, south and west devoured. All creatures were lost, lifeless, neither the unicorn, caterpillar nor butterfly were living, and oil energy, buried. Indeed, hundreds of men had been so killed. Thus, the breaking-up of iceberg, wrapped the outer world in water. There was nothing, nothing but water. Drowning mountains became island. Thus, poverty-stricken people, with disease and little or nothing, survived the flood, found ships and mountainous island peaks to pile themselves upon. After sunset the world was now wrapped in outer darkness. People proceed to curiously carve settlement, to set down a little domestic peculiarity on highland, making wigwam and hammock upon the hill-side blue, with a view of making the world a small degree civilised. Nevertheless, ere long, the divers went down under the sea, picking up whatever they could clutch. Thus, the earth puffed out great clouds of fire among the islands, the gold brow plumbs the blue in this practical world. All the candles that burnt round concluded in technical mechanical devices. Meanwhile, imperial island King Emperors conquered the watery world. The island people had metropolitan superiority over the sea-peasant. So, life dropped in to its place, the system returning. Consider all this, the masterless ocean overruns the globe, the sea’s landlessness, no shadow of tree, the watery loneliness of life, the continual repetition of fish as food, the fresh water low and consequently death from starvation, conflict with seas or winds, to live in the open air, that wild madness was life. So, man may brag of science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment, the sea will insult and murder him. Yet we resumed business, the oil business of whaling. The Chief Harpooner reigned supreme. Civilised ocean kings and empires set up whale departments, wherein blubber-boilers, butchers and harpooners reaped harvest of spermaceti and ambergris.


After half a century of cutting up the fresh blubber, spiralising and boiling out manufactured sperm oil and eating whale-steak you will find few whales in the lawless seas. Exploring expeditions happened. People dived and discovered, at the bottom of the sea, the Tuileries beneath the yellowish incrustations overgrowing the gardens of the deep, a marble sepulchre with the silken pearl coloured membrane, glossy as bridal satins. The curious internal structure was lung-celled honeycombs. The seamen swam through libraries through the long Vatican in the subterraneous monument, avenues of books, the ancient authors Ptolemy, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Goethe, Edmund Burke… Those who have written a book, spoken a speech, poet, philosopher and artist, bethink yourself between them. There’s all sorts, an inexhaustible wealth of spices, and silks, and jewels, and gold, and ivory, amber, antique crystal goblets, a bottle of Bordeaux, old Orleans whiskey, hermaphroditical Italian pictures, a great telescope, canes, umbrella-sticks, and handles to riding-whips.  There are mountains of these fine things, chambers of darkness, a hopeless, endless twinkling romantic landscape, the expression of the madness of men. Seal up any human thing supposed to be complete, retained in that reservoir of air, with all the paintings of Europe and Grecian sculptures. A gallery a thousand fathoms beneath the sunlight.


All those fine things, which to me seem important, were granted to the classic scholar, the Sub-Sub, who must catalogue them, to cultivate a historical record of mankind, the sub with an elated grandeur and hard work makes the basis for a regular system of all sorts of things with departments, subdivisions and folios to attempt a clear classification of mankind and nature and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing. She lived and worked in the inglorious bowels of the earth at the bottom of the deep ocean. She penetrated far into the interior and found many a gem. Dwelling in the blackness, silent, with one candelabra soon leads to a white, silken creature whose lulled into such an opium-like listlessness. There’s no soothing touch of human being for her in the deep. Each sub remained in this situation until death. They then renewed their sub – one is subsequently brought down and adieu to you.


Meanwhile, the whale fishery was near out of oil and ambergris. The intense greenness of the sea, empty of whales, the fire burning low, tormented to madness, the whalemen, violently hunted the highly prized spermaceti, the universal commotion to secure the whale oil by every boat in hot chase was riotous. Thus, human bloodshed, was to take hold of the world, as people had the fear of death, as oil and bloodthirsty pirates chased, seemed only intent on annihilating. Every boat continued her cruising, but that common decency of human kind was almost wholly gone. While Imperial Emperor and King had ships of floating furniture, had their customary dinner of Persian sherbet, their ivory-inlaid table and Ottoman, could take a glass of wine, had gold and silver, royalty, grandeur, for some there is no life, except that rocking life imparted by the sea. To have whale-bone den, cod and mackerel, a candle, boat-knife, sea charts, compasses, rifles, to be alive at all events was great and suicides a not uncommon thing. Inward they turned upon the soul, to lose oneself in such inhuman solitude.


Threading its way out from among battle came the poet Star, sailing in the old craft, nimble as a cat, she is amphibious. She did not use whale oil, but blazes fire out of the branches she grows from the odorous cedar on her island, a few green sprouts, full of hope and fruition.  With concern for the great whales of the sea, keeping them living and breathing was her business. A poetical Pagan, purposely living green, and the soft feeling of the human sprawling about, sailing out, out, off from mankind to all the ends of the earth. Star would take care of earth and whale and endeavoured to prevail upon this system of the wolfish world. Thus, by day to be sailing through boundless fields of blue water in a new-made world, and when dusk descended, the starred and stately nights seemed the warmly cool, clear, ringing, perfumed, overflowing ball-room of the whole world. After several years dancing through a calm tropical sea, her boat and whales, tranquilly swimming through the water, she had explored seas and archipelagos. In representing the whale, Star was enemy of the harpooner. The evil-blazing continued more savage on a fierce run. Star sailing away, from the chase with the herd, the small tame cows and calves to the old South Sea. Every year she went to the lovely island, her Aoraki, by the vivid green of old Cockatoo Point. Star took care, planting a great tree or two, while taking wood. The harpooners, they were running, rushing through the water with a vindictive sort of leaping towards her on the old Zealand sea. Star parts eastward from the islands one transparent blue morning. I take it from the books, she kept account of sea-life. But ere long from the vivid sunlight, sat Star rocking beneath the counterpane lounging on the chair in her South American poncho she slid to a grand snoozing dream, ornamented at the edges with little tingling waves. The counterpane was of patch-work, full of odd little parti-coloured squares and triangles and this gown on Star, looked for all the world like a strip of that same patchwork quilt, you could hardly tell it from the quilt, they so blended their hues together. Thus, temporarily blurred, unseen, but this ignorant infernal harpooner, suddenly he came upon the boat full of the fire of the hunt. She saw and lightening-like in movements, swings the rifle from the wall. Still, she’s over-manned. Those butchers killed lifeless the only starry dream, quickly they toss Star overboard in that mid-day sea azure. These harpooners found log-books, they were submerged with me, the last person down, a sub-sub trapped, in this darkened labyrinth. They killed the herd of whales to yield good oil. But sooner or later inevitably the last drop was gone, and without any oil battle kept kicking at this world. Man was doomed and made mad, and cannibalistically developed.


The end of it, I do not know. As bubbles that swim on the beaker’s brim, a powerless panic methinks, the round watery world has become white, and that great mass of human death floats on and on. I say I, myself, will slid off into death. So, fare thee well and adieu to you.                 



Róisín Power Hackett is an Irish visual artist, poet and art writer. She has a BA History of Art and Fine Art (Paint) and an MA in Art in the Contemporary World, an art writing masters, both from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. She has been published in The Runt, The Bohemyth, Rise and Repeal (Abortion Rights Campaign) MagazineThe Weary Blues, Glitter StumpPamphlet Magazine (Netherlands), Skylight 47, Mama Grande Press, Word Legs, Minus 9 Squared‘s Anthology, Minus Nine Squared. Róisín has also published essays, articles and reviews on contemporary art. More of her work can be found here