Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

June 2020 Competition Winner

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Northern Lights

Sue Hoffman



a blessing;

a child to unite tribes.



a gift;

a child to bring joy.



a mystery;

who knows the child’s fate?


But I was born

when the night was black,

when the sky-dancers slept,

their coloured capes folded to cushion weary heads,


and nothing could waken them;

not my father’s yells

nor my mother’s pleas,

not even the dance-drums of the Elders.


And so we live

by sufferance,

cast out from the clan’s heart,

forbidden to sing.


May 2020 Competition Winner

Wednesday, July 29th, 2020


Rachael Barnes-Powell


My father collects model trains


Engines, stations, trees – all miniaturised

populate his shed


His own personal paradise

over which he is god


Plastic bodies lie cold

Waiting for him to bring them to life


I was allowed to watch

as he worked in mausoleum-like silence


Sending engines hurtling along

metal heartlines

back to their homes to sleep


His own bed lay empty


My mother chose to ignore

the universe hidden in her garden


Preferring to spend time with the worms

making homes in the soil

of her chrysanthemums


Planting rose bushes before the shed

in the hope their seasonal bounty

would hide her permanent shame


I think I was the only visitor

to my father’s world

before moths moved in


Now the door is swollen

rain drips through the roof

But those trains wait for him


Itching to come back to life

Creative Writing Ink April 2020 Competition Winner

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020


Tomos Dargie


We came to a meadow by where the sea crept in,

where her breath was light with marram

and the meadowsweet danced.

There was an Island, left on a shell-strewn

strand once the tide had ebbed away.

There were terns, their shrill cry she carried

down the long summer days.

She brushed aside the long sweet grass and

sang along the pebbled stream, its waters

cool and clear and pure.

She whipped our eyes with salt and grit,

her white horses hoofbeats bitter and then,

once we understood her,

she gave to us her soul.

So few we are but blessed.

March 2020 Competition Winner

Friday, April 17th, 2020


Ruth Taaffe


Panic in the aisles. Unmasked together in a queue

we breathe discretely in opposite directions

no eye contact, ashamed of this synchronised thinking.


Ridiculous whims in the baskets, beans for protein

chocolate for morale. The thought of weeks

without fruit pinpoints an island of claustrophobia


inside, a notion of scurvy voyages east

or west on some wooden clipper. If only they’d had

the Piña des Indes back then. ​The tin sits


plucked from the shelf, adopted pet in the mesh

stack of yellow halos on the label. We are foreign

to each other. They grow just metres away


in fields, attract hummingbirds and bats. Fierce thistles

becoming flesh, only pickable with thick gloves

then stacked on the back of pick-up trucks


but these would ferment too soon with a smell

brown as vinegar. I’m after something more robust,

some buoyancy aid we can cling to, a sun’s corona, life ring.

Creative Writing Ink February 2020 Winner

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

An Alabaster Knight
Kathryn Ratzko

Still as stone,
hands on your chest,
an alabaster knight;
protector, warrior
who once
slayed dragons.

Dawn is here.
The ferryman still waits;
a bittersweet relief.
I stretch.
Cramped on
a makeshift bed,
I ache.

I lean in close
to hear your barely breath
and whisper that I have to go.
An hour I say, an hour.

I’m holding on to selfishness.

I turn away;
the journey is not mine.
Perhaps you need
to sail the lake to Avalon

Creative Writing Ink November 2019 Competition Winner

Friday, December 13th, 2019

In Waves

James Croal Jackson


It comes in waves, the grief, though you laugh

as you say so, because we are in the Atlantic,

children again, uppercutting large tides,

and I never learned to swim, but the saying–

the metaphor– is true, the water is relentless,

and we were states away from the hospital,

where your father was, when you got the

call, and later, in our hotel’s game room,

there was a balancing act– you, your family,

the ping-pong paddles on the black table,

the plastic balls rolling slowly onto the floor

at the end of another meaningless game, the

bouncing, then physics, entropy ending–

how else to reconcile lost time? This dusting,

this airing out, now, swimsuits soaked from

the salt of the sea, this fabric, this residue

dripping off of this vacation into the old

Civic, the broken A/C, the windows’ open

breeze, silence of the road lodged between

green hills, so endless, our breathing.

October 2019 Competition Winner

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

Sleight of Hand

Ruth Taaffe

You were thirteen and crooked, about to embrace

the retainer, conjure your own face from the pack.

An x-ray then you lay supine against stuffed leatherette

waiting for the show to begin. Behind the scenes 

the assistant prepared tricks of the trade for the maestro

who appeared in the snap of a glove, like that!

As though she’d pulled herself out of a hat.

One eye looked blind, beyond, as white as the tip 

of a magic wand but, god, that smile!

She began with the routine illusion – brush and floss, 

all smoke and mirrors, but two molars lay in her way.

Her wink revealed she had something up her sleeve:

the swan song of your baby teeth. She swiftly tugged  

then showed me her sleight of hand with a flourish, 

cupped in there like two bullets caught mid-flight. 

Creative Writing Ink September 2019 Winner

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, Bewildering Stories, Pif Magazine, Unlikely Stories, The American Journal of Poetry, and a few others. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC’s English Department and is currently working on a children’s book called The Boogerman. Some of her acoustic music and visual artwork can be viewed on her and her husband’s YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant. Facebook link:

My Fictitious Faberge Bee


I revisit the past in pictures

and think that looking back means

memories never change,


that my cling could never skew

a still frame,

but like a biting hand clasp—

my recall is a dying flash.


It’s my inability to let

childhood elude the fluctuating lens,

to attune to sepia decay,


the over-exposure, the gray-rimmed

ream of descending white,

to ask—Who am I?


I can still make out my heart sweater,

Willie the sheepdog of the litter I chose,

our smiles

under orange descent, red dyes,

rose gold glasses, and the

wisdom in the photo’s whitewash.


Somewhere in a light wave I see

my grandmother catch a process in a scurry,

a mark of eternal progress that fades

but stays a pixel the same,

each piece a fleck of peach. I hold


two reflective surfaces curtseying,

each tendril—dust of us.

Do we keep pictures to remember or forget?


I inherited a bouquet of dandelion parachutes,

the woman who took the photo—

her brooch and pearl white

skin to stick it in


to feel the sharp end.

I want to bend its brittle counterfeit wings,

to remedy my intermittent memory.


Creative Writing Ink August 2019 Winner

Friday, September 27th, 2019

Falling Angels

For my mother with love

Peter Branson


The conjuror behind closed doors, she mine,

me hers, she scrubs our mangled family life

starch-white; stems tears, irons creases out, darns holes;

small miracles – makes money stretch the week.

Her present tense is all I know and we

are doted on, consumes her too, except

she talks, obsessively with age, the friend

she met at school and worked with till she wed.

Good Catholic girls and ballroom all the rage,

their petticoats’ live bubbles in champagne,

they soar as light as air. The tenor sax

outplays his luck – she’s got enough to go

professional. Bait, line and hook she shies

from at the time sustains her all her days.

July 2019 Winner

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Job No. 1621

Gaynor Kane


Once, a carpenter on the Canberra.

Now, Rheumatoid anchored aground for years.

Got thrown off after a week, you said –

caught having tea and a fag. Shipped to a tanker,

as your own boss you skipped off early

on Fridays to smooth talk girls and dance.


I asked what you’d crafted?

You rubbed your face, buying time,

wiped cheeks veined in seaweed purple

with barnacle knuckles. I offered suggestions:

A mahogany cabinet with dovetails?

An oak bar with carved scrolls, acorns, leaves?


No, you laughed, the porthole edgings.

I Googled terms: King stud, appeared –

(wood either side of window) I pictured you

Elvis-like, easy come easy go, with a

Tony Curtis curl. The, now white, wave shook.

You said, you’d trimmed them with cripples.

Creative Writing Ink June 2019 Winner

Friday, July 26th, 2019

When My Mother Was a Giantess

Avra Margariti


She let me sit on her shoulders,

fed me spotted eggs

plucked fresh from mountaintop nests,

flew me like a girl-plane through the clouds

to gather their moisture on my tongue.


When she got sick, she shrank and sank

while I underwent a stretching metamorphosis,

all 206 of my bones a stranger in my body.

I carried her from bed to couch and back again,

spoon-fed her oatmeal and chamomile tea.

I tried to remind her of the times I rode on her shoulders

and she on the shoulders of the world,

soaring through wind and cloud.


In the end, a mechanical ventilator had to pump air

into her lungs.

Now, she’s a giantess in the clouds,

a shape I can trace with my finger

against the sky.

Creative Writing Ink May 2019 Winner

Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

Ruth Taaffe


This was the date that should’ve been.

It catches me every year

like the gasp of a plot twist I almost forgot.


While all the world waited

on an inhale for your first big cry

you were reserved, belated, biding your time.


‘Not yet cooked’, your Grandma joked

as if I really was the oven

and you the bun


or like a library book I wanted to keep

for perhaps

just one more week.

April 2019 Competition Winner

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


Sue Morgan


I was at Crewe station

between trains.

I had a call to make

from one of the old pay-phones.


After, I went to sit on a wooden bench

to wait for the onward connection.

A nun came to sit beside me.

An omen I thought.


I wondered whether to ask her to pray.

But decided not to intrude

on her silence,

the black and white of her habit.


My Mother’s death caught instead

between the insistent rumbling

of the tracks

and the cooing of feral pigeons.


Creative Writing Ink March 2019 Winner

Thursday, April 25th, 2019


Charles Leggett


The water tumbles down the conical

Coal-dust-coloured fountain; after trickling

Between up-jutting stones it stands, a pale


Penumbra, rendering a flickering

Of streams of light from the nearest of the lamps.

This park’s guitarists, lovers, frolicking


Dogs. Its shirtless would-be Frisbee champs.

Its joggers, strollers, chess combatants, moss-

stubbled boulders, and its child who stamps


His feet and wails. The mixture, there across

Eleventh, of façades both new and old—

The nineteen-twenties brick alongside dross


Heaved up five minutes ago as condos, sold.

These lines, of trees and benches, lamps and pathways.

Illiberal zoning lingers to withhold


Construction of much anything that strays

Above the generous canopy of trees

Lining Eleventh. This, in effect, arrays—


Excepting for the mild trajectories

Of spires, antenna towers—a subsigned,

Whole other line. Or else it’s that one sees


The whole park mounted, framed; or feels confined

In someone’s morbid science fiction zoo

(Both Vonnegut and “Star Trek” come to mind).


The fountain, as it gathers darkness to

Itself, transmutes, and now a whitebeard drools

In wind. The water only stays in view


When moving through the lamplight, which now pools

Upon its surface: one discerns a swell

Of soldiers, as in old fast-motion spools


Of wartime battle footage, as they pummel

Forward, are cut down by the pursuant

Gloaming. Then the stillness: aquarelle


Of silence as a skin of depth and scale,

Impervious, a living death in oil.

CWI February 2019 Winner

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

A Home for Christmas

Kathryn Ratzko

Socks and a hat,
a scarf, thick and bulky.
Throat sweets tucked
down the side.
Wipes to wipe away dirt;
nothing to take away pain.
Room for a razor, or maybe not.
A torch for wakeful nights.

The tiny space left;
soap or shampoo,
toothbrush, toothpaste
or chocolate
or pastilles?

My decision is made,
the lid is placed on,
my conscience contained.

Your home in a box.

January 2019 Winner

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A Cauliflower Farmer

Fabiyas MV

He still stands

in the back row

with the traditional misery.

His plants

always get his carbon dioxide.

But his hope

trapped in the collapsed price


Farm Aid Package orbits

over his life

like a malfunctioning satellite.

His debt thrives

among the dream debris.

The farmers’ dry voice flames

in the street.

He too

throws his produce.

His cauliflowers scatter

on the road

like the baton-charged protest.

December 2018 Winner

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The Snow Hulk 

Ruth Taaffe

I’m in the front, Mum sits behind with both

my sleeping sisters, flaked from Auld Lang Syne.

Snow scraps hurl like curls of peel, fling themselves

into the windscreen. I can’t believe how

secret the cautious, clotted streets appear. 

The year is closing. The world’s transforming.

Our garden, dressed like a stage set, awaits.

The idea takes. We’re piling, shovelling,

We are like frenzied Frankensteins: intent.

But this snow man is only half monster,

arms bent in rage and towering so I 

can’t reach to hang his hat. We sometimes thought

of you like that. You lift me up to press

his coal black eyes. I prayed he wouldn’t melt.


November 2018 Winner

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

The Butterfly

William Lythgoe

The other night, or possibly

around three hundred years BC

I dreamed I was a butterfly,

free to follow a random breeze

yet always landing

on a flower.


I don’t know why.

It could have been

because I know, in China

over two thousand years ago,

a man whose name was Zhuangzi

told a story


that could have been true

about a man called Chuang Chou

who dreamed he was a butterfly

free to follow a random breeze

yet always landing

on a flower.


When he awoke

he didn’t know

whether he was Chuang Chou

who had dreamed he was a butterfly,

or a butterfly dreaming

he was Chuang Chou.


When I awoke

I thought I knew

I wasn’t a butterfly or Chuang Chou.

But who am I? Could I be

A man whose name was Zhuangzi

dreaming he was me?



Creative Writing Ink October Winner

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Ailsa’s Red Patent Bag                                                                                                                                  

Maureen Cullen

The crate stamped Buffalo, New York shed its promised delights and a red patent handbag emerged with a flurry. Ailsa reached over the silken heads of her wee brothers and plucked it out of Mum’s hands. This bag couldn’t be meant for her mother. She of the thick glasses, the wax apron, perfuming all in her wake with the whiff of Domestos. She of the red-raw washday hands that scoured your skin on contact.

Mum raised her eyebrows. ‘Och, awright, hen, you huv it.’

Ailsa planked it in her wardrobe to examine later, returning to the continued emptying of Aunty Morag’s crate and the pleasure of treats outside of Christmas and birthdays.

Satisfied with chocolate, a pair of ice-skating boots she was never likely to wear, and some Minnie Mouse pyjamas, Ailsa retrieved her new bag. She set it on the chair under the window and looked out over backyards to the play park along the boundary of the scheme. Outside, weans squealed to the thud of running feet and a bicycle bell trilled. Huffing, she swished the curtains close, stepped to the door, and ear to the wood, turned the handle, teasing it shut with a squeak. Her room took on a glow, an in-between day and night seclusion.

She rested the bag on her lap, turned it around, fingered every nook and cranny, zipped and unzipped the compartments, raised it to her cheek, let the gloss slip-slide over her skin, and breathed in the tang of elegance. Twin compartments with two zipped inside pockets were separated by a stiff divider. The handles were erect strands that met at the apex, not quite long enough to go over her shoulder, and it was the red of strawberries when they were fit to bust. The bag itself, if you didn’t count the handles, filled the space from Ailsa’s knees to just under her budding chest. She raided her bedside drawer: her comb, a tangle of elastic bands, Kirby grips, a box of mints, two pencils, a grubby rubber, a sharpener emptied of shavings prior to inclusion, and a bluebell hanky she’d chain stitched in Primary 7. She added several red notebooks from Woolies and her buttoned-up purse in which there was one thrupenny bit and a couple of pennies, put in fake cigarettes, the ones that tasted of icing sugar, and a sachet of shampoo.

She unfurled her socks, rubbing at the red lines circling her calves, pulled at her tie until she could pass it over her head, unbuttoned her blouse, slipped out of her skirt, shoved her uniform in the wardrobe, and waltzed up and down in front of the mirror in her slip, her feet arched to replicate high heels. She held the bag on her arm, her fingers splayed at her cheek in the way catwalk models posed.

She flounced down on the bed.

The bag was clunky on her arm, falling to her knees. Mum would laugh if she saw her antics. She emptied it out on her candlewick cover, inserted it in a pillowslip, handles sticking out in protest, and laid it on the top shelf of the airing cupboard.



What with having to choose her subjects for O level, Mum’s perpetual chores, the onset of womanhood, the attendant cramps and disgusting sanitary towels– who thought them up? – Ailsa’s life was just one continual strop.

Until Chrissie joined her class.

Chrissie was a whole year older than Ailsa, she’d been held back at her previous school due to her misfortune. Ailsa hadn’t the nerve to ask what this might be, putting it down to the fact that her parents were divorced.

That first day in class, Chrissie stood at the blackboard, hand on hip, toe pointing forth, the pink tip of her tongue darting between top and bottom lip, and announced with a smile, to Teacher and a room full of bored fourteen-year-old girls, ‘Hi guys, I’m Chrissie Hall.’

Hi guys. To the teacher. How mature was that?

A frisson sizzled through Ailsa as Chrissie tossed back her silver hair. It was like early frost on a windowpane, and her eyes were sharp blue. She had a figure too, a bust that thrust from the V of her cardigan.

Since then, Ailsa had spent most Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings round at Chrissie’s, five streets away and far enough to ensure the parents didn’t meet casually. Ailsa paled at the thought of Mum showing her up in front of Chrissie.

This evening, Ailsa’s parents thought she was at Chrissie’s, if they thought about it at all, most likely glad to be shot of her moaning, and happy to see the back of her. Mum and Dad seemed to jump and jive just to see her smile, so much so that she took on a permanent scowl in their company. On the back of that she’d wangled a checked-black swing coat, a pleated mini skirt, tight fitting knee boots and a bob like Cilla’s.

Now she had a real use for the red patent bag, instead of the occasional outings in front of the mirror. She pulled the bag down, drew it from its pillowslip, kissed it and filled it with her bits and bobs. Oh, glamour indeed. Between this wean and that, she levered herself out of the house to Mum shouting, ‘Don’t be late’.

Soon she and Chrissie were scurrying down Main Road arm in arm, Chrissie’s pearl lips luminous in the dark, Ailsa’s eyes heavy with mascara. They giggled about the date arranged that afternoon in Capaldi’s. Packed to the gunnels on a Saturday, they’d had to squeeze their way in, heady with the hit of coffee, vanilla and dark tangy chocolate.

‘Get a move on, Ailsa. We’ll miss the seats at the back.’ A party of four were vacating a booth and Ailsa twisted through tables until she slid in to the bench, Chrissie bagging the place opposite.

Chrissie leant forward, her cleavage misted with talc as she sloughed off her jacket. ‘Did you see those guys eyeing us up as we came in?’

Ailsa turned around, but Chrissie grabbed her hand. ‘Don’t, you’ll look too keen. Let me reel them in.’

‘Oh, right.’ Alisa concentrated on Chrissie’s face. She was gorgeous and far more sophisticated than Ailsa. She’d had loads of boyfriends and knew how to flirt. Ailsa flushed. Maybe this would be her first date.

‘Two Irn-Bru ice creams please.’ Chrissie’s ice-eyes glinted over the waitress’s shoulder as she wiped their table. It wasn’t long before those eyes swept two good-looking fellas over to their booth. They slid in while Ailsa pretended fascination with her orange infused bubbles. Before she sooked up the last of her Irn-Bru a date had been made for that evening.

Now Ailsa scanned the queue at the picture hall. People waited in pairs for the evening show, their conversations billowing up and down the line. Her mum would kill her, they didn’t know anything about these boys, they weren’t local, but maybe they wouldn’t turn up anyway. She jumped at a tap on her shoulder and turned to a wink and a lopsided grin. Under the lamplight, she didn’t recognise the face. Chrissie was allowing her date to kiss her full on the mouth. This one must be hers then. Bill. She smiled in a manner that was just right.

Funny, but she could have sworn Bill was much younger in the café, maybe the half-light had tricked her. This fella looked… well, over twenty. He might expect a kiss like Chrissie’s date, Tom. She was no way going to kiss him in this queue. Or maybe even at all. He wasn’t that good looking. He was red-faced from the cold and his small chin was pitted with acne which became angrier at his throat. Chrissie was acting all Brigitte Bardot, pouting and flashing smiles. Ailsa wished she wouldn’t do that, there might be local folk who knew their mothers. She hurried on into the dark hall, breathing again once they found their seats. But not for long. Bill nudged her arm and passed a flask. She whispered, ‘What is it?’


What if someone noticed and they got thrown out? She’d die of shame. ‘No thanks,’ she said.

‘Suit yersel.’ He took a slurp.

That’s what was wrong with him. He was half-cut. She sat forward and tried to concentrate on the screen, her heart pounding at her ribcage. When he slid his arm around her shoulders, she stiffened.

‘It’s awright, Doll.’ He breathed booze into her face.

Ailsa was caught between the urge to get up and run, and the embarrassment of appearing a fool. She decided to sit it out. And besides she couldn’t leave Chrissie alone with them both. She glanced over. Tom’s arm was around Chrissie’s shoulder and his hand flopped far too close to her breast. Ailsa flushed hot from her forehead to her knees.

It took her a few deep breaths to calm her nerves and she held fast to her handbag on her knee. Bill seemed to have got the message when he withdrew his arm and settled back. He seemed absorbed in the film, some war story called The Great Escape. When the lights went up at the intermission, she tried to catch Chrissie’s attention but she refused to meet her eye. Bill asked if she liked the film. She nodded and tried to smile. He wasn’t so bad, he seemed to have sobered up, was being relaxed and polite, and he fetched her an ice cream tub. She couldn’t concentrate on the rest of the picture, being sandwiched between Bill and Tom, alert to every squeak and shuffle at either side.

As they left the cinema she tried to shake off her date. ‘I’ll be off home now, thank you, goodnight.’

He laughed and caught her arm. ‘Ah’ll take ye hame sweetheart, don’t want ye gettin intae any bother noo, dae we?’ There was a wheedling in his voice that gave her the heebie-jeebies but she didn’t want to cause a scene with the crowds milling around. He had her firm by the arm. There was no sign of Chrissie.

‘Maybe we’d better find Chrissie and Tom?’

‘Don’t worry about them. They’re huvin a great time. Least he is.’ He laughed.

What happened between that and being wheeched up a close, Ailsa had no idea.

Her back was being driven into the freezing tiles on the wall. Her bag bit into her leg under the weight of him, his breath and tongue were all over her face. ‘Cumoan, relax,’ he kept saying. She tried to scream but his mouth muffled that soon enough. Someone must come: home from a night out, back from work, go out on the night shift. She tried to kick out, only for him to wedge a knee across her thighs. Her arms were pinioned to the wall by his chest. He stank of cloying aftershave and sour sweat. When his hand crept under her skirt and groped her bum, Ailsa started to cry, the tears mixing with his slime.

A door opened, spilling light into the stairwell.  A man’s voice. ‘Hey, whit’s goin on here. Nae winchin up this close.’

Ailsa wailed, but it came out like a snort.

Bill said loudly, his hand relaxing, ‘Only having a wee kiss o ma girl, nae bother auld yin.’

‘No, No, I’m not his girl.’

The man was going back in. She gave a shove, got an inch of space, freed one arm and drove her bag hard under Bill’s chin, caught him off balance, swung the bag again at his head and registered a crack as he squealed. She fell out of the close mouth, scrambled up, looked around for someone, anyone, but the street was empty, curtains closed.

‘What the…’ His voice propelled her on.

The street was a line of tenements with dark, yawning closes, only the occasional spangle of light breaking four storeys of stone. She raced away, only turning at the corner to see him sway and stamp in the middle of the road clutching his head. Like a two-bit actor in a cowboy film.

Ailsa kept running, past streets of tenements until she reached the play park. Though it was inky black ahead, she’d have to risk it. Tendrils of frosted breath flickered into the black. Clouds patched the night sky, masking the moon. She stepped gingerly through the gate. Fingers fluttering at arms-length to feel her way, she tripped. Steadying herself, she inched forward on the path and as her eyes adjusted to the dark, made out the slide on her right and the swings on her left, eerily glowing with frost. When she heard footsteps approaching, her throat tightened. She stumbled again and was steadied by a hand at her elbow.

She looked up, terrified.

It was her mother. ‘Hen, ye’re awfy late. Ah came oot tae look fer ye. Cumoan the way hame.’

When they reached home, Ailsa shut the door quietly behind her and took off her boots. She stepped into the lobby. Mum was already at her bedroom door, curlers under her scarf, wrapped against the cold. She made no attempt to flip the switch and there was only the yellow tinge of a streetlight seeping into the space between them.

‘Och hen, get to yer bed now, and don’t wake the boys.’

‘Sorry, Mum.’

‘Nightie night.’

‘Nightie night.’

Ailsa dropped her red bag, changed into her flannelettes, went to the toilet, stripped, and scrubbed her skin red-raw.


Creative Writing Ink September 2018 Winner

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

Happy Birthday

William Lythgoe



wedding day,

death day.

Trying to tame

the torrent – to make

the sound and fury

signify something.




A rainbow arches

to the whirlpool below.

You cannot know

your destination


so let the wine flow.

Lose control

and merge

with the one who makes you whole.

Don’t cling to the world

as your life bleeds past

your last birthday


but drift

with the stream

that will bear you



the endless