A small boy stacks blocks
on the surgery floor.
She gives his mother
a flu shot.
Its like this all day,
the pinpricks,
the swabbing,
the perfection of sterility.

Minutes before
it happened
her son was sitting
sorting pine cones
at her feet.

A June morning.
The clearing,
the mountain pool,
air astringent pine,
water’s surface
webbed in light,
his compact body floating,
as if in solution.

Jane Frank (Queensland)

The Gods Above

The gods live uphill, the better to look down
on humans, below (literal) and beneath (social),
who roil among mirrors of the immortal.
The hill, with crags and steeps, deters climbing;
the gods like a shortage of face to face;
they’ve never done multicultural.

Affront is their reaction to attempts
to reach their home. Hubris they call it.
Through lack of social skills, they have no talent
to interpret its meaning. Is it challenge,
attack, mistake or funny (peculiar) prayer?

The gods receive supplication – praise
is preferred – but chants and babble can fade
into the hillside and be ignored.
Sudden sobs and screams bring on alarm. The gods
don’t deal well with the unexpected.

Best loved is like the old days, smoke
from prayers on bark or parchment and burned.
They love the scent. But in the modern age,
with humans, fire is out of fashion.
The gods struggle to cope with change.

E A M Harris (UK)


Three Cats and a Dog

And then she asked,
‘What breed?’

And I’m like,
‘She can see the same future,
and it’s beautiful.
The bronzed sun rising
in the summertime,
with her hand in mine
as I write my lines.’

And then time dilates
and I’m lost in the moment forever,
and then time bounces back
like it always does,
and anyway,
she’s supposed to be working.

Truth is,
I don’t really care what breed,
whichever breed would make her happy,
'cause I’m happy when she’s happy.

one dog is never
especially when you’ve got
three cats.

Dane Cobain (UK)