“This poem scared the heck out of me – this is a poem of fairy-tale horrors, of quiet, claustrophobic menace, of fear that refuses to remain hidden. It is not a graphic depiction of sex ‘You part my lips with them, shut/my mouth with them,’ made me feel like the very trees were closing over my head. It does not hide from the truth.” – Jane Burn, guest editor.
I don’t know what to be sorry for but
You take me to your woods
where quiet men without their mothers
smile at birds and watch.
You lay me down where
the tree roots are black and wet.
Your fingers are kissmakers.
You part my lips with them, shut
my mouth with them,
your thumb nail draws circles
inside me to find coldness, you
ask me are you sad.
Yes I say.
Natalie Crick, from Newcastle in the UK, has poems published in The Moth, Banshee, Strix, Bare Fiction, New Welsh Review and elsewhere. She recently graduated with an MA in Writing Poetry (distinction) and is now studying for an MPhil in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her poetry has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize twice,
shortlisted for The Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award 2018, commended in the
2019 Hippocrates Open Awards for Poetry and Medicine and one of her poems was a runner-up in the PBS & Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition 2018, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. This year one of Natalie’s poems was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020 on the theme of diversity. She is currently a creative-practitioner-in-residence at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research (WCMR) at Newcastle University. Natalie has poetry featured in a collaborative pamphlet ‘Co-Incidental 5’ (The Black Light Engine Room Press, 2019).