Issue 3.3


Day

Saga of pylons,
fields’ sleeves rolled up
in the ageless wind.

The Boeing, a lost animal
quietly roars between
two cities.

Clouds doing that thing,
spreading thin
as if a big hand had a butter knife;

each sealed
orange at the bottom
and blue at the top.

David Ross Linklater is a poet from Balintore, Easter Ross. He is the author of three pamphlets, most recently Scenes from a God Movie (Speculative Books, 2021). He is the recipient of a Dewar Arts Award and has been shortlisted for a New Writers Award and the Edwin Morgan Award. His work has appeared in The Dark Horse, Bath Magg, New Writing Scotland, and Gutter. Find him on Twitter @DavidRossLinkla and at http://www.davidlinklaterpoetry.com.


Quick and Easy Meals for One

Despite finding absolutely no joy in cooking, my mother collected cookbooks. They outnumbered us at roughly the same ratio they say sheep outnumber people in Ireland, or is it New Zealand. They were scattered around the house, perpetually accumulating, in places such as the wicker basket by the toilet, or teetering in piles on the stairs—anywhere but the kitchen. Class to our mother meant owning a vintage edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a conviction that apparently still held true if you didn’t know how to make anything in it. Mostly, she liked books with glossy, all-color pictures, featuring French countrysides and Italian villas and barefoot contessas in Hamptons estates, that weren’t just about cooking but more about a type of life that felt nearly mythological to me as I flipped through the books’ thick pages, heavy with photos of fake-looking grapes and lemonade with basil leaves, drenched in languid summer light. I would stare at the smiling man on the cover of Cooking with Friends, bearing baguettes and full-stalked carrots, adorned in a slightly embarrassing shirt and pretend he was our father. While dinners at our house were not only ordeals, but existential crises for our mother, Dinners at Home presented a shimmering mirage of garnished refinement and glistening coq au vin. Once while eating an exhumed Lean Cuisine out its packaging, Zoe asked why we always had frozen stuff, and my mother said that Walt Disney chose to freeze his own body to achieve immortality. Did we think we were above that? Another time, I asked her why we never had picnics because she owned no less than seven picnic cookbooks, and she said that any meal on the ground was a picnic if you wanted it to be. She had thirteen dessert books, five dedicated to birthday cakes, but she still forgot my eighth birthday, and then my thirteenth, when she told me that if she owned a bakery, she would call it Life’s Little Disappointments. “Before I knew what it meant, I thought it sounded like such a pretty word—a delicious word,” she said later, gone from a boil to a simmer, voice marinated in something like remorse, eyes glazed and fixed elsewhere, probably to country weekends and Italian villas. “I thought ‘disappointments’ were like some little fancy French thing you’d serve on a tray at a dinner party.” She never read to us growing up, but she let us flip through the pages of those cookbooks before we went to bed, and then later, if I got up to go to the bathroom, I would see her in the living room looking through them herself, with a glass of wine. I know enough now to know that our mother wanted more once, but she wanted someone to tell her how to get it—all the steps and how much of what to add to make life better, more palatable. I know that now, but when you’re a child, all you want is to be fed.

Nikki Barnhart is an MFA candidate in Fiction at The Ohio State University. Her work has appeared in Juked, The Rumpus, Barnstorm, and elsewhere.


Blindness

there’s a place I like
just after his wrist
where forearm hair meets
the start of the hand,
and there it spills
a little into it.
it’s a shade I watch,
proudly stern, a prow
of bones emerging
from fog at night.
and there is a tooth,
the odd one like home,
it roofs all this love
he cannot even see.

Luís Costa (he/they) is, among many things, an anxious queer poet living in London. Longlisted for the 2022 Out-Spoken Prize for Poetry and a finalist of the Write Bloody UK competition, his recent and forthcoming work can be found in Visual Verse, Stone of Madness, Inksounds, Queerlings, and Farside Review. Luís holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, and likes Baroque music, numbers and wine. He tweets @captainiberia.