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Kingfishers and cobblestones.

And five more new poems.



ON ERLEIGH Road the pavement shifts:
beach at the edge of the world
where compact sand imitates fish scales
after the tide clocks off.

Thanks to confident poet friends I’m including
mulch in this one. Thanks to recommendations
I use cathartic effectively.
We’re young. Not yet worn.

My friend with curls bigger than mine
writes without capitals. No beginning or end
only sporadic periods. I’ve an inkling
she’s talking about me.

She tells me
kingfishers fly at thirty miles per hour.
A female must eat over half her body weight
in fish every day, just to stay alive.



THERE’RE traffic cones in the stubble field like fallen suns —
I have mine. We consider a commune.
Yes, please: narcotics, side fringes, roads kissed by amber trees,
river swimming, roaming our hinterland
(go, friends, I’ll watch the bags, I’ll watch the time),
living on the brink of tears and love
for freckles and determined double-crowned heads.


TWELVE DAYS in and I’m painting my possessions blue.
A seven-minute walk away, the moon keeps her rendezvous
at the portal between sky and sea.
I’m my mother’s dubious daughter, body already fuming with the year.

You know that feeling stood on the crest of a hill needing to topple?

My friends and I are chasing the people we expected ourselves to be
and it takes weeks for me to scoot closer to a book. The fat seals on the spit
are commas dividing the horizon’s soliloquy. My body:

a drawbridge leaning closer to its voice.


THE WOMAN who lives in the valley
stashes her nuts in the oven,
roasts them with seaweed and sugar,
lets them burn her tongue.
Each day she gives herself ten minutes
to shower naked with no skin.

Late in the pub that grips the cliff’s edge
she jabbers that the water tickles her muscles.
Dark ale spills over coasters
she collects like stamps.

Her eyes jiggle in her head.
Echoes beat promptly to sea shanties
chanted by drunks whilst winter
thunders beyond the stained-glass spyholes.

It’s rumoured she traded her smile for a song
and got a storm instead.
She grimaces now at busking teenagers,
knocks her cane in praise when they pause to breathe.

Where her garden meets the dunes,
sandwort bows a little
pale buttons stitched at the elbow of her plot.

In the will she wrote when she was seven
her cursive pen commands:

Let the white flowers cover my body
on the shore where things are born.


I SLIP away,
the confectionary aisle this time
musing on nutty nougat
writing another only-in-my-head poem,
lost again to the industrial ceilings
of England’s second largest supermarket chain.
That’s where the good ones go:
up and away.

Home: boiler working finally.
Rain like fire clouds town.
Where the sea goes after the horizon
troubles me.
Does the fog break?
Or does it stick to ships like gum
under a school desk, preying
on innocent victims
in the half-lit danger of freedom?


IT ISN’T until sleep is disturbed
we realise blackbirds sing at night.
I stop wearing earphones on the way to work,
their slight melody turning my bike’s wheels.

The plan is to meet in town centre.
Walk, grab ice cream,
watch the new bridge being built.
Herring, you tell me, paid for this place.

That’s how we remember we’re alive,
trekking towards the next town
knowing the harlequin ladybird is
an invasive species that lives in nettles —

— spotting a sycamore and exclaiming to the wind

KITTY HAWKINS graduated with an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2022. The year before she received two awards for her undergraduate poetry collection, Acoustics, at the University of Reading, and in 2022 won the Magdalena Young Poets Award. She is working on her debut collection. Her work is featured in The Canvas, Autofocus Lit Mag, Two Rivers Press and other online publications.

Image credit: ilbusca

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