Issue 30: Claire Crowther

Withheld With Equal Status


i soundsunder


I’m used to sitting without speaking

to others

sitting by me without speaking


till one of us says: it’s time to talk

to others

beside yourself and time to break


up silence all together   Alto-

gether we

chat and chatter and all without


the noise I hear without speaking

before we

begin to talk our lip and trip


of sound   Ear isn’t empty nor without

its other

world I hear inside my silence


that it is the sussuround of us

we other:

sounds that shushhush the our of self



ii lovefail


a wasp crawls

across a

glass pane won-

dering at

such sudden-

ly toughened

air I’m with-

held lungs crushed

held lungs crushed

I let my

distress un-

do and un-

hold you your

arms with hold

my pull a-

way we’re on

shy off-ice 

shy off-ice

hold tight my

word hoard warns

word hoard warns

with holding

me I feel

such shivers

such shivers

listen we

are withheld

what does this

what does this



iii  a sort of salix two broken poems                       


first poem no end

The eau de nil leaves of the curling willow try

  during every rainfall

    to go out from inside


the stem that holds their feet; they pierce a small door. This

  is how a shy one leaves.

    She wills a frail self: go.


On the curve of the stem, rain and sun unlock each

  wrapped-up leaf. I step out . . .


second poem no beginning no end

. . . so we’re tree’s elixir /

   sucked out in exchange for

   fear / while beauty names this


leaf / I don’t confuse them \

  beauty is amrita \

   immortality / we


extract . . .

Claire Crowther has published five collections. Her first, Stretch of Closures (Shearsman), was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh Best First Collection Prize and her fourth, Solar Cruise (Shearsman), was a PBS Recommendation for Spring 2020. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and teaches Creative Writing at Oxford University. Claire is Deputy / Reviews Editor of Long Poem Magazine

Copyright © 2023 by Claire Crowther, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author