Katie Stockton is a welsh poet, playwright, crossword lover and recent graduate of the UEA Masters Writing programme. She's the 2020 Snoo Wilson Writing Prize winner, and was recently longlisted for the Poetry Society's Collaboration Award. Her work has appeared in Hellebore Press, Forward Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears and others. Her writing commissions include those by The Sunday Times, Norwich Arts Centre, the Maddermarket Theatre, RADA, Drama Studio London, WalesOnline and Young Norfolk Arts Festival.
Faces have seen older, stranger faces than this,
train windows too,
which’ve learned a new habit of smudging me out.
My face squished between the hardlines of a hat
and a collar.
Can you will a face into a second state of life?
Let me tell you: the universe is a snake –
I saw this in a true dream – it sheds
leaves behind its echo-brothers on the porches
of its next-door neighbours.
A face cannot live like this.
I’m no universe of cold-blood,
I am an egg cracked, slipping.
You can shadow-reckon my wrinkles,
hear the shadow-people that live
in these folds.
When my face was a stone, a marble.
cold and membraned,
when I liked things the shape of a full stop,
I used to stare long at the basilisk
in the mirror, every morning.
Heat. Around the fruit bowl like flies,
dripping from the fridge handle,
the upturned door numbers,
dropping from the hallway creak.
The single periwinkle house
beckoned heat down to us.
Summer’s fingers run tracks
through window droplets.
We measure out our stay
in Askew Road, London,
in the hexagons of limescale,
its ones or twos at the bottom
of the mug,
or the tip of the tongue,
The heat of it.
The sun a pea pod ready to be split.
The neighbours rattling their keys.
The people have stopped parking their cars.
The buses are carving a new route away.
We’ve become our mothers’ daughters,
We could leave for home,
or obey the heat.
this garden is
plotted into the lines of my hands
I put an earthworm to my upper lip
and whisper for access to my own skin
when it comes to butterflies
I am a royalist
a weatherman craving a wallflower
a template of root
an earthworm chewing pieces of the dark
school happens again in blades
stems are paper spines
no schoolyard tyrants this time, just
those things I’ll never attain the symmetry of
and the teacher
is the entire memory of winter
blinking over the hill’s shoulder
making me into flowers unfurling without fear
that their twins will be there again
the earth forgives the worm that needs it
the world forgives the wound
the hyacinths and I have reached an accord
when they’ve gone
I’ll construct solariums
out of a new genus
slink down the garden path
to sleep in roses through winter
no lullabying flowerbeds
the magic birds gone quiet
but I won’t be afraid
of giving into soil
of inhaling the heady pollen
the slopes of mountains
into my skin
Basilisk: Re-Side (Issue 1)
Askew Road: Hellebore Press (Issue 4)
Genus: exclusive first publication by iamb /
Runner-up in the Hestercombe Gardens Poetry Competition 2019