Issue 24: Emily Pritchard



The birch canoe slid on the smooth banks.¹

It slid into the water like breath into air.

We watched the canoe sail away.

Can boats without sails be said to sail?

We watched the canoe leave.


Glue the sheet to the dark blue background.

Paint a wash of colour, a primary school sky.

Cut stars from silver foil or space blankets.

Give it to your mother.


It’s easy to tell the depth of a well.

Less so when you are falling down it.


These days a chicken leg is a rare dish.

If someone served me a chicken leg,

I would say, excuse me, sir,

this is a restaurant and I did not

expect to find a chicken leg here.


Rice is often served in round bowls.

I once had a colleague who loved rice.

She loved it so much, she would order it

at restaurants, nothing else, just a bowl

of plain white rice. She was Canadian.

She told me that when she was a child,

it got so cold that her brother’s hair,

gelled into little spikes, could be snapped off.


The juice of lemons makes a fine punch.

The juice of lemons can be used in many ways.²

Last night I drank a can of gin and rose lemonade.

I am trying not to use the things my housemates left.

This was an exception. I thought it might make me relax.

                                                       It only made me sad.


The box was thrown beside the parked truck.

The box contained a couple of shirts.

It also contained a toothbrush.

Why is there something so clichéd

about a toothbrush?³


The hogs were fed chopped corn and garbage.

I hope garbage here means leftover food.


Four hours of steady work faced us.

He seemed a steady person.

Steady up. Steady!


Large size in stockings is hard to sell.

This sentence is misogynistic.

Who is selling the stockings?

                                    And to whom?


The boy was there when the sun rose.

It came in through the window.

It came in through the large bottle

of cherry red fairy liquid

that glowed

and cast a light across the floor.


A rod is used to catch pink salmon.

My mother told me recently

about the only time she ever went fishing.

Her father took the three girls.

She was maybe seven.

None of them caught any fish,

apart from my mum, who caught an eel.

She said she was disappointed

by this eel, which was not like

the fish she saw in picture books.

Her father wanted them to cook and eat it.

Her mother made him throw it back.


The source of the huge river is the clear spring.

The canals in Venice are flowing clear.

You can see fish in them. The swans

have returned. People on Twitter said, look.

This is what we do, we make things dirty.

But my friend Jhanie told me it’s just because

the gondolas stir up dust from the bottom

of the canals. I believe her, but how explain

                                                  the swans?⁴


Kick the ball straight and follow through.

Following through seems along the same lines

as steady work. If we keep working, if we

are steady, can we follow this through?

                              Or see it through?


Help the woman get back to her feet.

Don’t get too close.⁵


A pot of tea helps to pass the evening.

I used my last teabag yesterday.

It was a summer berries tea.

How long

                         before I open

my housemate’s snazzy teas?

How long before questions

of belonging no longer matter?


Smoky fires lack flame and heat.

Smoky fires make people cough.

When I was a child, Dad came home

smelling of woodsmoke from bonfires.


The soft cushion broke the man’s fall.

On the phone this morning, I said,

this is selfish, but the people we love

will probably all be okay. I don’t know

what gave me this presumption.⁸


The salt breeze came from across the sea.

Down by the beck this morning, the air

tasted salty from the mud. Like the flood

waters, in their coming and going,

had made the ground an estuary.


The girl at the booth sold fifty bonds.

We really bonded over it. I feel we have a bond.

I feel we have an affinity. I feel bound to you.


Emily Pritchard is currently completing an MA in Poetry and Poetics at the University of York, where she is writing about butch poetics. She has been published in Poetry Birmingham and The Kindling.

Copyright © 2020 by Emily Pritchard, 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.