Issue #89

Winter 2024

Five Prose Poems

by Vicki Kaye


It's the latest way to deal with the rituals and formalities of life both economically and mindfully. Sophie is chief bridesmaid at her brother's wedding, one of the speakers at her grandfather's funeral and a rather young godmother to her sister's first baby. The parish church has been tastefully sectioned off to incorporate all three services and the guests/participants have become experts in quick changes of clothing and emotional responses. Zips are out - velcro is in. The vicar has the easiest time of it really because he doesn't have to change his clothes - merely hop over into each designated area and pick up the service where he left off. Everyone wins.


Venus Recycled

What a gorgeous, sunny day it is. Rows of vaginas sitting open-mouthed like hungry fledglings. Buckets of labias, vulvas and dentures as she hangs out, swaying gently on a hook. Anything you desire. Offering a lifetime of service. Expensive. Astrid is so popular and it's another gorgeous, sunny day. Her sisters, mutely fuming, sit on the viewing sofa. She can sense their plastic passions. The client is enthusiastic. Tie her up? Bend her back on herself? How far is too far? There is fire in his eyes. Well, it's true that silicone forgives but there are limits. Afterwards, after cleaning her out, damage assessment - wig chopped, skin gouged, body deformed. No more use - send it for recycling. Carried back, past her siblings, Astrid notices just how un-focussed and disinterested they really are.


Burn the Witch #1

Entertainment comes in many forms thinks Lilith as she climbs the steps into the dock. Mariticide pulls in a great crowd. People are queueing half-way up the street. Lillith's barrister is male (tactics!). Lights dim after the tea trolley and the ice cream tray come round. The room is crowded to hear her refuse to speak in her own defence. A true star of the silent screen. Fuck them, she thinks. What would you have done? She sees them - magnifying glasses pointing at her, shaking their heads grimly and assessing her body language for guilt. Was the violence proportionate do you think? Do you think?


Burn the Witch #2

You're not happy Rénee. Not happy at all. Difficult day. Take this jury number and sit over there. Pull up a chair. Coloured lights flash around the dock - the prisoner looks pretty fed up too. Where's the tea trolley, where's the icecream tray? Rénee's got a sealion either side of her - they'll clap at anything. The clerk offers her a bible and a card. I don't want to take the oath, I want to affirm, she says. She did this, she did that. The spatter pattern of the blood indicates this...or that. Rénee contemplates and wonders which of her many attitudes she should adopt today.


Final Call Please

Place your bets. Final call please. Sasha hesitates - preoccupied, she wonders why some people escaping in boats are good but others are not. She says, I must climb up to light the beacon. It's urgent. The gaming table starts to rock, Place your bet Sasha, hurry up, the gamblers scream. Sasha can hear the rain outside and the waves starting to crash against the walls. She places a square bet and wins. The wheel spins again and again she wins. Once more and all the other players on her table copy her. They all win. "I'm going to light the beacon. Someone must help guide the boats in," she says. Angry eyes look at her in desparation. Sasha breaks free of the crowd and runs to the ladder. Up and up she climbs, blood pumping. At the top she reaches out to light the beacon. Across the water she can just make out voices, Hold tight. Place your bets. Place your bets.

Author Bio


Born in London, Victoria Kaye is a writer and artist. Her work has been published in Periodicities Journal of Canada, 3a.m. Magazine and Seed Journal, Ireland amongst others. Her pamphlet Fractured Light (Sampson Low Press) was published in 2022 and she has work in several anthologies including Seeing in Tongues an anthology of visual poetry published in 2023 by Steel Incisors Press. She currently lives and works in Bristol, UK.