☛ Submission for October, 2024 issue (Vol. 5, No. 2) is going on. The last date for submission is 30 September, 2024.





-         Josephine Dickinson (U.K.)


The bank opposite spills golden light. Over

there in the sun the holy hall and the hill

run down to the river. By the time I reach

it the air is grey and dim.


Later I take the packages to bed with a pair of scissors

from the childhood home.

They are a treasure from before



so carefully wrapped,

every edge closed off, how am I to cut through

without touching the treasure inside.

I sit in bed, the womb space, scissors at my side,

wishing I could phone my mother.


Slitting the brown shiny tape round the edges, I prise them open.

There is a tiny bundle thickly tied in red ribbon,

with a card: It was lovely to talk to you yesterday. Here

are the letters – in no order. Will send another parcel

by recorded delivery. Lots of love, Liz.


A little bolder, I cut the top off the other package,

first holding it up against the lamp to see the light shine

through. Inside is a jumble of various pieces of paper.

On top is a honey label. Under it a bookplate, which

I recognize as having fallen from my copy of a poetry book long ago.


Next morning, the morning of my cochlear activation, I am cocooned

in my bed while I listen to the slow moving nasal melody over

the breathy hum of choirs and the vibrating strings,

a mournful lullaby or an elegiac hymn, most like

a Bach organ choral prelude, unadorned,


musing along, moving from register to register,

with a deep, underpinning pedal.

And I await sound, a new sensory impulse,

as the voice in my head is mourning the old.


The cats cuddle around me,

at my feet,

on the mounds

of green silkiness.


My hair is freshly washed and almost dry,

gathered in a frizzy bunch, loose

at the nape of my neck, thought

to be untangled, to be made beautiful.


All we experience as sense is in the past.

How can we reach the present?

The future exists only as a construct of the mind.

There is nowhere we can look and say

‘That is in the future.’

Nowhere at all.


Even the present is past, if neurologists are correct.

But I can look back at a time in the past

and a subsequent past, which is now in the future

to it. Soon, I will look back and the cochlear switch-on


will be in the future to this time I am writing in.

Question: if everything I sense is in the past –

what is it that it is in the past in relation to?


as I am in the future to the letters my parents wrote,

so will my reading them be in the future

to the now of this.