Issue 31: Hannah Copley

five poems from LAPWING


Fabulous artificer, the hawklike man.

You flew. Whereto? Newhaven – Dieppe,

steerage passenger. Paris and back.

Lapwing. Icarus. Pater. ait.

Seabedabbled, fallen, weltering.

Lapwing you are. Lapwing he.

    — James Joyce, Ulysses, p. 208




Up late scavenging the reels

for a glimpse of him in someone else's story.

Image into video into image, eyes training

to the happiness of every other flock. Flick.


Finding comfort in distributed chaos.

Times Square. A child pelts into a blanket of pigeons,

arms flung wide into their grey skein. A singularity

scattered into two hundred sets of wings. Flick.


Grainy footage of a cockatoo bouncing

on a woman’s head. Yellow crest unfurled, grey leg

ringed with its tiny chain. Flick.


A sea gull rips the greater part of a Cornish pasty

out of a young man’s hand. Flick.


Yet another clip of those fucking starlings. Flick.    


Peet sees each one in the way that a tiny glass eye

sees, in the way that a wired open beak

sees. Flick.


Tring Museum. Two hundred

stuffed hummingbirds turn slowly

in a tombola of joy.


Are those his thin legs

crossed on a metal bench to the left?








There goes the wind and nowhere

to shelter, hedgerow a mere myth.

Peet, the last bird in this flattened world,

makes her way towards the temple

called Lonely Oak, picks between the shrine

of brightly painted stones. Peet,

pinned in an endless lunar turntable.


The field has no border and the crucible turbine

is always so unsure of its delineation.

Each speckled egg, she visualizes, is a trinket

dangling from a blue thread; each lung

a thumbprint of cloud in the darkening sky.


I am always about to lose my way.

And in the distance, Lapwing. In the near distance,

Lapwing. Nearest, Lapwing. Same old,

same old, life as thin as contact paper.






Miscellaneous wants



Cob size, for small place, to cart

and plough. – State price. -Apply.



highest prices given. – Apply. 



until 14th April. Prices high. – Apply.



as in former years. Highest price

given.  – Apply.



from now until 14th April.

High prices.  – Apply.



to bring up.  – Apply.

Black and white


Typical evening for the remainers -

just the regular October light show

from the B-Road.


Here comes the inevitable drag.

All the same tricks.

All the regular haunts. Peet, sitting atop

the empty nest, begins her costume brainstorm:


1. Halloween as a spray of gravel;

2. Halloween as a scattered pack of clubs;

3. Halloween as a chess board and all

its pieces chucked up into a hurricane;

4. Halloween as a terrible explosion

in the domino factory;

5. Halloween as spoondrift in the dark.


All group costumes, she reflects.

All requiring the flock and their inevitable

ups and downs.


Peet remembers her chickhood

of satsuma rind, her squash threaded with twine.

Almost flying.


All those black evenings

watching Kes, face behind the cushion,

light left on in the hall. 








[I’m] almost sure that Daedalus merely wished to show his son that no border could hold him, that high enough, the skyline would remain constant, that journeying is myriad. [I’m] almost sure that Daedalus merely wished to show his son what porosity could feel like.

Hannah Copley’s first collection, Speculum, was published in 2021 by Broken Sleep Books. Her second, Lapwing, is forthcoming with Pavilion Poetry in Spring 2024. Her work has recently appeared in POETRY, Poetry Birmingham, Under the Radar, Bath Magg, Into the Void, and others .

Copyright © 2023 by Hannah Copley, 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