Ode to a Hairdresser by Iseult Healy

He lifted her straggling hair
with the love of a musician
strummed her strands
cried over their condition.

He leaned her head back
so gently on basin’s rim
then massaged and mused
that her hopes weren’t dim.

She bit her soft moans
his fingers stroked her head
and thought of other pleasure
alone in her bed.

Move over here madam, please.
She fought the tears at the loss
of his touch, the exquisite nearness
of his tight-panted crotch.

Then he cut and fussed
admired and caressed
every strand of her hair
till she felt undressed.

She floated home and
tossed her hair
to show his beauty to those
who would stare.

Her husband asked, why so often
to cut one head of hair
at the price of adopting a child
or a new French au pair

Oh, she says,
he shows respect
my tips are dry
from years of neglect.
To stop the rot
he has to treat me

Bloody poof, I’m sure
you’re on the wrong tack
shampoo and wax
won’t turn the clock back.

Oh, she said.

Your hair’s nice, he said
stumbling into bed
after the match and the beer
his eyes close in his head

Snoring in seconds
before she can reply:

I’m worth it, she says
my tips aren’t dry.

Iseult Healy is published in several journals including USA, Mexico, and Ireland. Also Shortlisted Galway Hospital Trust Poetry Competition 2015.

She is a member of Ox Mountain Poets and A New Ulster groups, and loves Kevin Higgins’ Over the Edge international online poetry workshops.



A New Beginning by Norman Hadley

When the Wilsons judged that they were halfway through the marriage,
they hired a jobbing surgeon-friend
to sever their heads
to sew back on
but swapped around.

They spent their second twenty years
apologising for a million insensitivities
but the sex was fantastic.

Norman Hadley is an engineer and mathematician who writes poetry, short fiction, children’s fiction and cycling-related nonfiction to keep all the hemispheres occupied. He’s produced five poetry collections so far and frenetic participation in Jo Bell’s “52” project has generated sufficient material for five more.



Daydreaming by Bee Lewis

I should be a better lover
and be a little thinner.
I should work a little harder,
but be home to cook your dinner.

I should grow some little people;
continue the cycle of life.
I should create a perfect home
as your loyal, dutiful wife.

I should always be well groomed;
no stray hairs or comfy shoes.
I should yield to your attention
despite the stench of booze.

I should never stop to dream
of actions without pardon;
of hitting you over the head
and burying you in the garden.

Born in Liverpool, Bee Lewis now lives in East Sussex, on the south coast, with her husband and their Irish Setter. She is working on her first novel and is currently studying for her Creative Writing MA with Manchester Metropolitan University. Bee has a number of publishing credits, including a short story, The Iron Men, in Best British Short Stories 2015, published by Salt. She compares writing poetry to solving Sudoku – fiendish, and something best left to other, cleverer people.