Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
Like some great crushing snake filled with the burning heat of the hottest hot water bottle you’ve
Enveloping you so slowly at the start, that you barely notice, like that story about the frog in
And the heat becomes blackness, sadness, great mounds of soil filling your mouth, but warm,
not cold or damp, so perhaps it’s sand or space.
You turn on your side like a foetus, like some pale, pulsing pulpa or a great inflated larvae in a
You’d been reading poetry, quietly, toe in the tap and a flannel on your forehead, ignoring covid
19 successfully for the first time in nine weeks, feeling a great feminist fire in your belly.
No bubbles, no razor, not even soap or shampoo for your hair, just hot hot hot water up to your
ears, and cuts from new knives on your knuckles.
The poetry was flinging the door open for you to stare down the long corridor, back at yourself,
and peer into old classrooms and feel that first feeling of Plath and Frida and Maya Angelou.
It was reminding you of all the fights and fists, the protests and the tiny wins and the huge great
stinking victories which have come before you and then the book felt like a bomb in your wrinkled, puckered mitts.
And your anger flushed and bloomed and grew from the small, hard walnut in the pit of your
stomach, into your lungs, your heart, into the pulse in your hot hot hot neck.
And you vow that throughout and after this time which serves up horror upon horror, you’ll
remember: the fights not won, the fights not won, the fights not won. Not yet.
Jo Garwood (she/ her) currently lives with her partner in Brixton, London. By day, she works for a large charity giving advice to the public on a range of problems, from debt and housing to legal and consumer problems. She has been writing since childhood and was thrilled to get 1 of 13 places on the BA English with Creative Writing degree at the University of East Anglia after leaving school, way back in 2001! Since then, she has continued to write fiction and poetry and also enjoys lino cutting and printmaking, DIY queer film, LGBTQ activism and collecting penknives.