Editor's Note

Charlotte Newbury’s set of prose poems are designed like bridges. Except, as you walk the length of the verse, you find yourself, or an earlier version of yourself standing there, looking back at you.

Newbury achieves this suspension of separation between the mind of the reader and the material at least in two cases by employing extended metaphors. In ‘Name Something More Tender’ and ‘The Saint of Falling Short’, the metaphors of the kingfish and the patron saint of falling short respectively run the length of the poem. What’s interesting with these metaphors is that while the vehicle of the fish and saint take up considerable space, the tenor is a bit fuzzy. In both cases, Newbury does not use concrete imagery to tell us what exactly is being described, allowing the poems a layer of mystery. This invites the reader to fill in the blanks with their own experience, making way for a nuanced and personal discovery towards the end.

Without further ado then, I invite you to explore this house of mirrors and find yourself – differently.

— Yashasvi Vachhani
The Bombay Literary Magazine

Name Something More Tender


than this dream in which I grasp a kingfish the size of a swollen limb and cradle it tight against my chest. Around me, others work to cut it free from the net while its wet tail hangs heavy, awkward, divorced from the waves. Up above, the gulls scream a call to feast in their own harsh language. Somewhere beneath the foam, I imagine other fish panic in their strange, silent way – flitting between cold current and cold current, crossing great distances in a blink. In my arms, the kingfish gasps. I hold it higher, pressing scales flush to the opening of my wetsuit. I feel the slow pulse of its heart, sluggish, against my throat. Each beat rocks us. Distended skin against skin.


The Saint of Falling Short


 rose on my eleventh birthday. They say she was martyred for tripping over the final hurdle, and that her relics turned to dust before they could be sold and housed. I was, by then, in the habit of rising early to count freckles on my arms, and to salute passing planes to keep them in the sky. She appeared in my doorway, a puttering halo, and offered me a bone. Said, one day you may need this, so I tucked it safely inside, a shard under my rib cage. Over time, the splicing happened. I began to put out a petal in her colours as well as my own. Spoke every third word in tongues. Never could make myself understood. Inside, the shard turned smooth, like a pebble left by the beach – curved edges, impossible to separate.


Ask Every Girl I’ve Dated, They’ll Tell You I’m a Really Good Friend


I’ll always bail out first, that’s my promise. You’ll never have to let me down gently. My parents taught me that it’s better this way: get out first and fast. Worry later about whether the rockslide you were trying to avoid really exists at all. It’s far preferable, they said, to see a disaster from your rear-view mirror. Always sounded sensible to me, except that now I spend all my time looking back, in case I need to hit the gas. Hate the thought of being the one left behind. I once got a text from a girl after a date that said I think I’m just getting more of a friend vibe. I’m really sorry – just wanted to let you know, didn’t seem right to lead you on. and I replied for sure! Just that. I mean, fucking hell. Like a response to a corporate email. Like I’m approving client amends. For sure! I said, like, whatever. Or ouch. Or I don’t want to let you know I said ouch out loud.


Image credits: © Matt Wilson. Downloaded from ArtyMag.

For more of Matt’s astonishing feats with cutlery and art check out his Insta page. and his studio Airtight Artwork

Almost all the online images that deal with Matt’s pieces show the piece, perfected. Any sign of the delicate and patient human effort that has gone into making these birds and other animals, now infused with the coiled tensile strength of their constitutent material, is backgrounded or non-existent. This image, however, struck us with its combination of tenderness and strength, qualities which we felt were also to be found in Charlotte Newbury’s poems.


Charlotte Newbury is a queer poet from South East England with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Exeter. She likes witchcraft, ecofeminism and spider plants. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Unstamatic, Bad Betty Press, Complete Sentence and more. She’s on Twitter @charnewbpoet

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