Theresa Donnelly

A Matter of Time

St. Vincent’s delights in cashmere

sweaters and Jimmy Choo boots-

your niece’s eyes sparkle like the ring.


You want to talk wood-

mahogany or oak? 

I want to talk metal-

the cold steel of a Kukri.


Shards of broken glass

sweep towards the pier.

The season’s dank breath

sweetens ambitious seedlings

in the Jiffy greenhouse.


Basil, peppers, onions will taste

bitter as chicory come summer.


Geese return as you prepare to leave.

I search for words for you to take along

but find the dictionary sealed shut

with marmalade glue and spilt Arabica.


The cat will refuse to eat-

she always does when you go away.


Unlike last year, the pompous  

hibiscus will rot. The sprinklers

are unpredictable when left to their own devices.


Blackbirds will again tunnel

their way inside the dryer vent,

before being evicted into middle-spring

by a landlord who insists on rent-paying tenants.


The roses will blush embarrassment-

for reminding me of your silhouette

bending in the fading light.


Adamant to live in the country-

this house denied home status

but befitting a four-page spread

in Architectural Digest.


You slipped between rooms

while I entertained moguls

after hours and on weekends.


Soon the smell of manure

will saturate the air.

I will return to a city

where steel will grow-


a backbone for urban decay.

Where melancholy can be

buried beneath slabs-


of freshly poured concrete.



Theresa Donnelly is an Irish/Canadian poet who spends her time between Waterville, Co. Kerry and Brooklin, Ontario. Her poetry has been published in the Brooklin Town Crier, Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Beret Days Press, Red Claw Press, Ink Bottle Press and The Caterpillar Magazine. She is the author of two poetry books ‘Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems (juvenile) and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society.

For more information visit

Breda Joyce

Pedalling Backwards

When I visit my uncle in respite

he shuffles closer to the door, complains

no one will repair his bike. He needs

to cycle home; he’d take a taxi

but can’t afford the fare.


He sits across from me, dismayed;

no one listens or understands

that he must go back. No one

can see what he sees tangled

in the past.


His bicycle chain has been derailed;

he struggles to reset the links

that took him here. His feet trapped

in slippers far too loose; they trip him

when he tries to pedal

his way back.



Breda Joyce lives near Cahir, Co. Tipperary and graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from U.C.C. February 2020. Her poem, The Guardian of the Wheel was shortlisted for the Anthony Cronin Award and longlisted for the Over the Edge Award 2019.  The Bee-Smoker and Murmuration above the Peace Line were shortlisted for the Hennessy Award 2019. Slán leis an Airc was shortlisted for The Kinsale Literary Festival 2019. Her poem Free Fall won the Judith Aronson Likeness competition, April 2018. Breda has had poems published in Crannóg, Crossways, Skylight 47, The Galway Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Bangor Literary Journal, and The Quarryman and in the forthcoming Kilkenny Broadsheet 2020.

Theresa Donnelly

Ship of the Dead

Waking from a fitful sleep where

he dreamt he reached the coast;

leaving behind so wretched a place

where dusk now but a ghost


had camouflaged the landscape

in shades of grenadine.

Morning exposed its true light

of burnt hut and blackened beam.


Sword in hand, he clawed his way

to the river’s edge.

Blackness overwhelmed him

as he slid from the water’s ledge.


It startled his flesh into consciousness.


Branded wine-coloured scars

imprinted along his torso

as numerous as stars

stood to attention like warriors

upon hearing the beat of the drum.


The fatal wound between his ribs

began to seep, throb and burn.

The river pulled his body

beneath tendrils of olive-green moss;

caressing and lulling him further below

with a song of enduring loss.


The wild magic of the water

lured him into a trance-like state

which he fought against with tooth and nail

but his blood loss was too great.


Alongside moaning columns

which had once been cowardly men;

their voices hushed by the river’s rush

never to be heard again.


Odin’s booming bellow

pierced his death-like state

echoing words of warning; not

to be lured to the commoners gate.


The twelve handmaidens of Odin

took him into their care

sweeping him from the riverbed

carrying him forth on the air.


They could see the fiddlehead carving

of his ship’s bow on the wave.

A Viking’s final resting place

should be no riverbed grave.


They laid his body on board the ship;

placed his faithful sword in his hand

then setting the ship ablaze

they severed the anchor’s strand.


They would escort his soul to Valhalla

between the yellow moon and the tides

where all brave warriors feast and fight

in the Great Hall where Odin resides.



Theresa Donnelly is an Irish/Canadian poet who spends her time between Waterville, Co. Kerry and Brooklin, Ontario. Her poetry has been published in the Brooklin Town Crier, Surfacing Magazine, The Copperfield Review, Beret Days Press, Red Claw Press, Ink Bottle Press and The Caterpillar Magazine. She is the author of two poetry books ‘Moon Witch and Other Scary Poems (juvenile) and Recurrence of Blue. She is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and a founding member of The Brooklin Poetry Society.
For more information visit

Seth Jani


In the great northern woods of Maine
there is the skeleton of an old Cessna
rotting in the ferns. No bodies lay nearby
though there are stones the size of skulls,
of shattered femurs. I found it once
while I was chasing butterflies
through a corridor of trees.
No numbers remained painted on the hull,
and the merciless joinery of frost
had rent the fuselage with bright crystals.
It blossomed in the woods like a beautiful carcass,
a fabled creature of lightning and glass.
When I went to open the doors
the sidereal light of winter
poured out from the interior
like a fallen god.



Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, Washington and is the founder of Seven CirclePress ( His work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron ReviewThe Comstock ReviewPhantom Drift and El Portal. His full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. More about him and his work can be found at

Mark Czanik

The Willow’s Song

The willow is weeping.

She weeps for her sisters,

and a pool is fed by the tears she sheds.

The pool feeds a creek that flows to the ocean.

Oh, the ocean is full of her treasures, she said.


The rain is falling.  

It falls on the hillside,

and a girls stands where the willow once stood.

The girl finds a street that’s lost in the city.

Oh, the rain is full of her treasures, she said.


The wind is calling.

It calls at her window,

and her hair is spinning like beads on a thread.

The thread hangs around her in the heart of the city.

Oh, the wind is full of her treasures, she said.


Darkness is calling.

It calls for the dawning,

and the moon is full, but her eyes are red.

She tells you her secrets are lost to the darkness.

Oh, the darkness is full of her treasures, she said.


Sisters are singing.

They sing for the weaving,

and the corn is turning like a spider’s web.

The corn turns a circle round the heart of the city.

Oh, the circles are full of their treasures, they said.


The willow is sleeping.

She sleeps for the dreaming,

and a pool is fed by the dreams she sheds.

The pool feeds a creek that’s lost in the city.

Oh, the city is full of her treasures, she said.      



Mark Czanik was born in the ‘sweet borderlands’ of Herefordshire, and now lives in exile in Bath. His poems and stories have appeared in Southword, Cyphers, Wasafiri, Riptide, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, and many other lovely magazines.

Aoife Riach


I love the freezing stone of you

beyond the rain, your bone damp

raising bristles on my flesh


I only know who they named

you after, eight hundred vaulted

years of grey, you waited for me


Why should you submit to what

they built you for, when my voice

echoes deep into your tombs


Loom over me, pull me inside

you again, they laid all your lovers

to rot within your walls 


Ring out for me, I’ll be breath

in your dead structure, the only

ghost you’re haunting back


Why should we submit to what

they built us for

 ————————————- my hot blood

thumps your every hollow cave



Aoife Riach is a queer feminist witch with an MA in Gender & Women’s studies and a postgrad certificate in Sexuality & Sexual Health Education. She has worked as a writer for BUST magazine in NYC and her poetry has been published by College Green Journal, Nothing Substantial, Sonder, Channel, Impossible Archetype and other magazines. She was a finalist in the 2019 Intervarsity Poetry Slam and was a 2019 Irish Writers Centre Young Writer Delegate. Her poem “Vancouver” was chosen for Hungering, the latest curation of the Poetry Jukebox currently installed at EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin.


Orla Fay

A History of Snow

1982. We waited in the kitchen.

They went to check on a neighbour.

Would they get caught in the drifts?

I fell asleep. The Hamco. The Big Snow.


In school watching out the Georgian

windows for the first flakes,

the surge of excitement when they fell

swept away all thought of work.


The lane was covered with frost,

puddles wore pale faces. We practised

how far we could slide, falling,

cracking elbows, bruising legs.


Making a snowman knuckles and fingers

numb, the mittens gone, socks on hands

searching for a carrot and pebbles.

Wham singing Last Christmas.


Back pinned to a warm radiator in the convent.

The 90s. Nirvana. Carpet coat, navy skirt,

no trousers allowed, tights sometimes,

knee high socks; uniform. Watching breath in air.


The Big Freeze. The ice came in

through the keyhole. The temperature in the car

read -15. A few miles into the journey

the brake pads froze. 2010.


A film of black ice covered the town

after the forewarning of freezing fog

when crows perished, plunging from the sky.

The Morrigan. People fell, casualty was full.


2018. The Beast from the East.

Racing back on the train to get home.

Deer gazed out from the blizzard in the park,

their bright eyes shining. An Cailleach.


The lane was impassable to vehicles,

drifts clung to the ditches and hedges.

We trampled through, ankle deep in wellies,

bringing bread, milk, eggs and Lucozade.



Orla Fay is editor of Boyne Berries. Recently her poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, ROPES 2019, Impossible Archetype, The Bangor Literary Journal, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Tales From The Forest, Quarryman and FourXFour. She has been previously shortlisted for The Over The Edge New Writer of the Year Award, The Dermot Healy Award, The Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award, The Rush Poetry Competition and The Redline Book Festival Poetry Award. This year she was shortlisted for The Cúirt New Writing Prize. She won 3rd prize in The Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Award 2019. Her short story Foxy was published on the incubator selects in April. She is working towards a first collection of poetry. She blogs at

Lorraine Whelan

Somewhere Between Lillehammer and Trondheim

My body rocks back and forth

as the train weaves its way through the lumpy landscape

 of still, wintry mountains in the darkening night.

Northern Norway in early March.


The moon glows as it rises over curved silhouettes.

I watch it from the window.

Bright. Lonely. Silver orb.


The few other passengers in this carriage are asleep.


Then I see another light in the distance:

a curious, flickering, reddish hue.


My face presses hard on the cold glass,

to bring me closer to the apparition.


A huge man is sitting, cross-legged, by a giant bonfire

warming his overgrown hands.

I know it is icy out there.

He does not look up, though I see a half-smile appear

through his unkempt, auburn beard.


He knows I can see him.


I continue to stare as the train trundles

past the isolated, impossible,

lay-by of this mythic being.



Lorraine Whelan is a Canadian writer and visual artist based in Ireland. Her prose, poetry, and art criticism has appeared in Ireland, Canada, USA, Luxembourg and online Her artwork is included in public, private and corporate collections in Ireland, USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, and Australia.

Kersten Christianson

Solar Flare

   -Tracking Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”


You do not have to be engaged.

You do not have to sit

in the front row

nodding your head

in approval,


to the uninspired.

You only have to represent

the clickety-clack of your heart,

tap-dancing rain gutters,

solar panels.

Tell me where you’d rather be,

and I’ll draw an X

marking my spot, too.

Meanwhile, the day slugs on.

Meanwhile the sun rides the sky

in a hunched back slouch, filters

60 watts through alder leaves

hanging by a thread.

Whoever you once were,

or will yet become,

the world will bend

to your intensity.



Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing Alaskan. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage), has authored two books of poetry – What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017) – and is the poetry editor of Alaska Women Speak.

Estelle Clarke

Dragon’s Dream


Two dragons cavort,


their wings have an unlikely beauty,

smudged with blood

spilled from celestial bodies.


She stretches her length,


through the coloured universe,

displaying the glaze on her belly scales.


He sings from the earth.

Notes of yearning

raise her quickening heart.


She closes her seductive eyes

behind streamlined lashes,

swishes her tail coquettishly.

Lightening shoots from its spade,

glances off mass of purple, blue and gold,

forks through space,

strikes the orange armour of her mate.



he joins her in heavenly flight.

They burn through the night,

shooting stars

of dragon fire,


aflame with love.



Estelle is an emerging writer and performance poet. The Hansard Gallery, Southampton invited Estelle to perform her work at “Poetry @ JHG: Resist”. She won the Hammer and Tongue Solent Poetry Slam (April) and a competition to be performed on the Salisbury Fringe. Her poetry is published in the International Times.