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Issue Two

Lewis Brown


People of Earth


People of Earth, we

Have been observing you, and we

Have witnessed everything.

Every back-alley, take-his-wallet, why’s-he-not-moving mistake.

Every barbed-wire-border, where’s-your-passport, it-hurts-every-step-that-you-take.

We saw it.

Every late-night, behind-closed-doors, you-thought-no-one-heard-you crying.

Every under-your-breath, back-of-the-bus, go-back-to-your-own-country muttering.

We heard it.

Every whisper, every roar.

Every squabble, every war.


People of Earth, we

Are not angry, but rather we

Are disappointed,

Because we did have hope.

Through all the us-or-them chaos

We glimpsed a light-in-the-darkness

After the boot-in-the-face

Came a hand-on-the-shoulder

But too late

Always too late.


People of Earth, we

Understand that this is difficult for you.

People of Earth, we

Have seen the good in you, and we

Know that you are trying to change, and we

Would like to believe that you are maturing, but we

Have run out of second-chances to give you.


People of Earth.

We are sorry.



The Wolf Who Came to the Door


Once upon a time there was a widow who lived

in a house on a street on a hill.

She was largely content and she didn’t complain

excepting the tenancy bill.


She was largely content and she didn’t complain

she still had her job and her home and her health.

She kept a tight ship and a garden of sorts

for the benefit of none but herself.


But once of an evening when the sky opened up

and the rain on the roof made a din

a wolf knocked on her door with a dripping wet paw

and asked if he couldn’t come in.


He wiped off his paws and took off his coat,

so he wouldn’t get mud on the floor.

He was oh so civil and very refined,

the wolf who came to the door.


She offered him tea, which he graciously drank

which was no mean feat without thumbs.

Then he curled up by the fire and she in a chair

and they talked about where they were from,


about where they were going, and where they had been.

She asked if he knew a tiger she’d met.

He thought for a moment and then shook his head

saying it’s not the sort of thing he’d forget.


When she awoke in the chair he had let himself out.

She got up and got on with her day,

although she hoped he’d come back the next time that it rained.

They were friends in a strange kind of way.


And so he did, and they talked, and had tea and the like,

they had wonderful times set in store.

But one night when the sky was accursedly dry

regardless he came to her door.


She was as shocked to find he was limping

as she was to see the cuts on his face

but she bandaged them up without panic or pause

and made a splint for his leg in good haste.


They spoke not a word on that dry summer’s night,

which slipped on into dry summer’s day,

when she realised she’d miss him if he never came back

so she nervously asked him to stay.


At first he was silent, then he limped to her side

and whispered some words in her ear.

She listened, and thought, and at length understood

nodding, and blinking back tears.


The woman’s husband wasn’t the first of her losses

and her dear friend the wolf not the last;

but the woman in that house on that street on that hill

is a woman at peace with the past.




The Staff Are Striking


“Customer Notice:

The museum will be closing early today because the staff are striking.”


They are striking. Stunning. Beautiful.

Visitors are paralysed.

Many fail to make to make it past the gift shop

as they stare at the assistant’s lovely face and sigh.


A customer, standing at the till

cannot bring herself to speak

mouth goldfish agape.

The assistant blushes,

and several tourists faint.


Beyond, in the gallery

the exhibits are outshone.

Axes and arrowheads sulk in cases

as the staff are put on pedestals,

revered beyond holy books and sarcophagus kings.


The museum is closing early today,

but visitors will not leave

only gaze longingly into the stewards’ breath-taking eyes.

Some reach out to stroke their matchless cheeks.

They sigh, and smile, and will not leave.


The museum is closing early today because the staff are striking.

They shake their dreadful, perfect heads and close the doors.

Perhaps tomorrow they will break the curse,

of a phrase well-meant but poorly put:


“The museum will be closing early today because the staff are striking”.


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