Habib by Ruba Abughaida

I still see your burnt amber curls, remember your eyes, the colour of sunned honey. I hear you releasing your laughter like a door swinging open.   Your voice is clear in my stories of you, you went down into the blueness of the red sea, they said, and came up again, but not alive, not as before.   Your mother wanted her heart to cover yours, as it did before you were born, once her body had grown tired of chasing you in grief.   You are together now, bones on bones. Giving... Read More

Southsea Pier by Steve Dodd

I don’t know who it was that said, “Autobiographies are my favourite form of fiction.” But I certainly get the point now.  The anecdote about finding inspiration on Southsea Pier was particularly amusing.  I never remember him enjoying going anywhere near the seafront.  Always too busy propping up the bar in the Jolly Sailor.  That’s what I recollect about Portsmouth’s most famous son.  Funny, that was the least galling of his ‘remembrances’. It’s my own... Read More

Babies by Sidra Khalid

In the grocery store earlier that week, I had seen a little girl of about two with a cleft lip. Her mother wore a stiff cotton sari and a bun that stretched the skin of her forehead smooth, adding years to the hard lines next to her mouth. She was muttering as she read a label on a bottle of milk, but I was fixated on that baby – that cleft lip. Didn’t they fix that sort of thing at birth? I was trying not to stare, but the baby’s pink gums spreading under her lip were so... Read More

Wallpaper by Holly Douglas

A man said to the wallpaper Alas you have imprisoned me With your ugliness And the flowers screamed back No sir, It is you who have imprisoned us With yours   Holly Douglas is a 3rd year English Literature student studying at Newcastle University and is originally from Durham.  She enjoys writing fiction and poetry in her spare time and hopes to become a professional writer in the future.    Read More

I see by Ruba Abughaida

I see your eyes still, in a face that sits next to me at dinner,   and the half turn of a head on the street, as I rush to forget you,   in the braiding of fingers, when a man and a woman stroll their love alongside me,   in an eyebrow-arching laugh, the way yours lifted when you told me our story,   in an angled elbow, as you reached out to me,   in hands around a waist gripping it as loosely as the belt you liked on me.   Ruba Abughaida is completing... Read More

The Etiquette of Dying Strangers by Bruce Harris

The old man in the flat below is dying. Trapped indoors, he eases his siege with radio and papers in a chair by the window. Church ladies rally round with the shopping and key arrangements have already been made on his own initiative, for access and rescue.   I know that pallor, the pale of inevitable, bright, frightened eyes in a head turning skull like standing alone on a vast pounding road wondering exactly what car will it be. I’ve stood in the pain of more intimate... Read More