Birmingham-based writer, poet and educator Louise McStravick says her writing is concerned mostly with extracting the extraordinary from the ordinary. Her recent work can be found in Popshot, Ink Sweat & Tears, Dear Damsels, Aphelion, Porridge Magazine and several other respected publications. Louise's debut poetry collection, How to Make Curry Goat, was published in 2020.
My sister was born a sunset
When children come out healthy, they are pink.
Or the bit when pink meets red
like that point in the sky
when the sun reminds
of its power to make us forget
everything that came
before it. Even if only a minute.
This blood spilled sky an ending.
Children are not yellow like a fully baked sun.
They said she must have jaundice.
My mother tells them her father’s
skin holds the burnt ochres of a Caribbean sunset.
They do not say sorry when they hand her over.
A daughter’s guide
to poaching an egg
Make the water rearrange its insides,
shift shape as it is told,
drip drip vinegar,
sour the water to not let things stick.
Watch it fight its way to the surface.
It is not an easy process, such transformation,
if not careful it can erupt, break onto skin that has already learned
this is too hot,
but does it again anyway.
Turn the heat down.
Don’t hold the egg too high or it will spread itself open,
reveal itself, some things should be left to the imagination.
Wand a whirlpool and crack it in
watch it bring itself together,
composed, despite itself.
Let the bubbles teach it how to mature,
push it to the surface,
yolk whole, unbroken,
ready for charred bread.
In one move, let the knife cut it open
watch it pour itself out,
ready for hungry tongues.
Bake yourself some unicorns
After Rishi Dastidar
Start your day with a cheese board; wear lycra to work; decorate your eyelids with glitter made from reclaimed rainbow tears; slay your greetings—wink with both eyes—say goodbye instead of hello; only consume things that are the yellow of the midday sun; defy winter, wear a bikini, manifest warmth; yoga yourself to a luxury holiday at least 8 times a day—the more you do it the more the universe receives; eat squirty cream for lunch straight from the can and inhale the gas after; go on a 24-hour lunch break—if your boss asks why tell her to read your daily horoscope; stop your thoughts at the click of a notification; order yourself a slice of knowledge; you’re owning it babes you’re shitting out that deposit with every reusable cup. You can do this! Start a petition to ban white bread; teach the bacteria in your stomach to recycle plastic; don’t eat anything that could look sound or feel like it could have been crawled on by anything that can be named. Keep going! You know you’re winning when you wake up and it isn’t raining.