Gaynor Kane from Belfast, Northern Ireland, came to writing late in life, having finished an Open University BA (Hons) degree with a creative writing module. She's since had poems, fiction, creative non-fiction and visual art published in journals and anthologies in the UK, Europe and the US. As well as performing at several literary events – The Belfast Book Festival, Open House Festival and Cheltenham Poetry Festival among these – Gaynor's organised, curated and hosted literary events for various other festivals. She's also judged for the North Carolina Poetry Society, and was guest sub-editor of Issue Two of The Storms: A Journal of Poetry, Prose and Visual Art. Her poetry is published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press.
I can’t resist the challenge
of working out your code.
Listen to the click, click, click
of teeth nipping past the pin.
Listen for the tock of the clock,
as the dials rotate.
Listen for ticks of numbers falling
in place and your combo clunk.
You meet my nose with coldness
and the scent of blood,
newborns, and his collection
of copper coins. Mother’s gold
charm bracelet with clover, wishing well,
clog and key. Or her grandfather’s
old toolbox, a cacophony of giants:
chisels, claw-hammer, hacksaw, caulk.
Your colour has me thinking
of boulders along the edge
of Belfast Lough, where O’Neill’s red
hand alighted after being cleaved
and hurled from sea to land.
Or mountains of fossilised rocks,
stacked at the docks. Coal carted,
then scooped in spade loads into sacks.
You are tugboat shaped,
but my thoughts go large to Arrol gantries
and liners nesting within skeletal stocks,
until fully formed. Rivets struck
like rhythmic heartbeats. Chocks lodged
in place, to stop them slipping out to sea,
until waters broke and ships
were birthed by tugboat midwives.
Everything was monochrome, chalk, smoke,
firebrick, slack. Dunchers and dungarees,
grubby hands and faces at clocking-off,
men’s boots still gleaming with pride.
Pride passed down paternally,
reflecting on shiny surfaces,
until the yard was boat-less, barren,
and the gates all locked.
1) a flat container, usually paper;
2) something that envelops;
3) a natural enclosing.
I have felt hand-cut paper, folded;
held letters of the heart.
shut feelings away; sealed
by cardboard button & green twine,
soft-stamped beeswax & gummed saliva.
I’ve safeguarded policies on punishment,
the Eton mess of government contracts,
procedures for lubricants & movements
& bills for climate conferences & parties.
I have been the surface for a botched plan
over lunchtime drinks; sometimes binned
& other times brought into being.
I’ve been a tube of long thin glass
encapsulating gas, creating neon light
& illuminating bars with my brightness.
I have been blindness of a field covered
in snow. Blue ceramic of tiles, holding
the reflective mirror of a pool.
I have been the hedge squaring a lawn.
I’ve been the breeze buoying
a dancing kite. I’ve had a window
& seen the curve of the earth.
I might have been a musty prickled husk
of Autumn’s conker or chalky
sedimentary shell, cradling yolk & albumen.
In my first life I was an emperor’s invitation
within unbroken pottery.
The Lock: Venus in Pink Marble (The Hedgehog Poetry Press)
Envelope / Hope: exclusive first publication by iamb
is a pile
of chalky bones,
dusted off and laid
Fine drill bits
whirr as holes are bored
and granules gathered
for DNA testing.
a skeleton reverse read
like tea leaves.
all the lines
of a messy story—
the puzzle pieces
hear a knock
at their door.