Icarus after Lockdown

Jennifer A. McGowan

The loudness compels him up the hill;

the brute force of it,

the wild energy. It beats,

raving heart at the centre

of everything.


He reaches clear air,

begins to breathe freely.

Around his feet small red flowers

scrabble in the chalk.


He stands taller than he’s ever been.

The sun feels kind, he thinks.

The ocean cheers him.


Hopeful, he takes three steps,

launches into mid-air.

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News at Ten


a hippo saw a circle

and realised it was round.


He rolled and rolled

into a different landscape

where he fetched up against strange angles

and hollowed himself out.


He watched someone peel themself

into a squarely coiled skin

and two eight-sided dice.


How strange, thought the hippo,

that we can be sharp and void

at the same time.


At that moment he came apart

into oblique shapes

and only made it home

thanks to some long, thin rectangles

of birds, who remembered him.


Attempts to reintegrate the trapezoids

back into a hippo

have been largely unsuccessful.

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Jennifer A. McGowan took her PhD from the University of Wales. She has worked for the OED, and also has five collections of poetry out. She spends as much time as possible in the 15th century, going each year (except last year) to Raglan Castle and camping there for ten days in August. However, the lack of indoor plumbing usually forces her back to the 21st century. She has also published fantastic literature, and psychological horror.  She is an archer, a one-time professional mime, and has many stage hours behind her. She is a disabled poet.