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Issue Two

Jasmine Simms


The Girl Guides of the known stars


I should have been a girl guide.

I’m getting sick of these high street clothes

eating my insides, I should have lived

in charity shops, inside out, I want to learn the cost

of things after someone else has been at them.


It strikes me what might have been different

if I’d been taught navigation, martial arts,

BSL, Morse Code. I need that leather skin

of the people who know the stars

so take to the streets like nocturnal predators.


I want to buy my compass with stripes and badges.

Let me go at the nature trails please,

let me off the lead, leave me to dig and bury.

I should have been not them, but the perfect

patch of square ground, after they took the tent.


I’m going to put them in my will: the Girl Guides

of the known stars. I want it common legend

that you can find me in their prayer; the promise

to Queen and Country to do my best, to be myself,

to not get lost for a minute, so it is, I swear.




Like horses


I too have stared, like a horse, over a fence

into the next field. I’m becoming tired of knowing

that the wind up my nostrils is a sign of things

coming and going. I have frozen from the inside,

not knowing who opens the gate, or when.


I too have spoken the language of horse,

said things with my back legs,

caused offence, spoken too quickly,

turned out my upper lip after a taste of red wine.

I’ve run my hoof across the ground

waiting for something. Now I know how to wait

like a horse does, knotting my mane in class,


looking very far into the distance, counting strides.

Sometimes I think I’ve come this far as a foal,

sleeping with my head between my knees.

The only things I know for sure are real:

the sound of galloping, never to touch you

when your ears are flat back, how to get near you,

how to dream in the back of a horsebox,

how to fall, how to sleep standing up.






When I woke up last night you were in my bed.

I’ve never been in bed with you

when you were alive. I was quite surprised.

I said you could stay as long as you didn’t talk.

You said that was fine. You said you were tired.


Before I went to bed I’d been thinking

about your gap year in America

and your tendency to start conversation

but lose it somewhere, crashing in and out.

I can’t be sure what you’d think of me now,

in my fake denim. I’m not even sure you’d think anything.

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