Studying for an MPhil in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Natalie Crick has had poems in Stand, The Moth, Banshee, The Dark Horse, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. One of her poems was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020, and awarded second prize in the Newcastle Poetry Competition that same year. Another of Natalie's poems received a special mention by judge Ilya Kaminsky in the Poetry London Prize 2020. In 2021, Natalie was highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award, and nominated for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She is co-founder and poetry editor of small literary press Fragmented Voices, which is based in both Newcastle and Prague.
the lovely fairies
in Sister’s room
have blades on their backs
and lately Lee sucks lemons
for their sharps
looks for wounds in snow
on his morning walk with Mam
fantasizes he is sliced like a pear
but today the blood smells real
he wipes his hands on his trackies
dizzy tries to walk not run
because he doesn’t want to scare
and blooming like a cherry tree stumbles out
there is a metallic grinding scream
when Next Door ignites the hedge trimmer
the winter sun pierces Lee’s eyes
blue sky sawn open
in that moment the sky is too big for Lee
far too big and empty
he wants to find the stars
wants a knock on his bedroom door
wants to be red for somebody
Doctors and Nurses
Lee’s Sister is upstairs
Septembering in the back bedroom where
Lee sometimes eats old bread.
After long days of waiting,
Lee moves like an infection up
stairs that smell of cigarette smoke.
Sister’s shadow is a boy
of five in the right light.
Lee lights her smile with a tickle,
breaks the pill onto the spoon’s curve and
tells his patient to suck on it.
She coos. This is what doves do,
excited through open lips.
Lee tends to Sister’s most-hurts, examines
the cut on her toe and kisses it.
Allows her to undress to rub salve into her cattle state.
Sombre Doctor Lee, grave in gloves,
checks her pulse:
Miss, there’s something you should know.
Poorly Girlfriend sleeps like a parched stone.
Boyfriend watches her instead of television.
Boyfriend watches when light slats
dangerously expose her black eyes to him.
His hand is a quill; the crow feather a flutter to ease
out her bad, the nib a point stroking her cheeks.
Boyfriend makes up Girlfriend’s face
with motes of ash from his fingers.
Her face is lengthening, looking up.
To Boyfriend she seems Unsafe. Undelicate.
He plays love with her,
plays fetch, plays harm.
He likes her to suck his fingers,
He likes her to smile, always.
Boyfriend likes to use the biggest knife
to slice Girlfriend’s strawberries, likes to see
the red of them against the lap of white at her throat.
Boyfriend confesses how much he loves Girlfriend
to the mirror. He whispers the names of the others
he loves, but can never change the channel on the remote.
Boyfriend watches Girlfriend instead of television.
He turns the ceiling light on and off to see just what she will do,
lights up the room bright to check she is still breathing.
Off and On.