Runner Up for the 2022 Lewis Edwards Memorial Prize
Hattie Atkins is a Mancunian writer living and studying in Edinburgh. Amongst other literary magazines, her prose and poetry have appeared in Gutter and en bloc, and has been anthologised by The Common Breath and Forest Publishing. Her poem, ‘Home Remedies’, received a special mention for the 2019 Grierson Verse Prize. She will begin studying a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway in September 2022.
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The train became distant in its caterpillar slope / Toothache tore the nerves of my face into fringes, fringes like the rows of string beans that hung to drip-drip-dry from my grandmother’s doorframe, string beans like the clothes on her washing line that became phantoms in the humbug half-dusk / My grandmother left on that train / I kept my tongue behind my teeth as always, behind that tooth, shrunk and gnarled in humbug-sweet infection, my gum blossomed around it, fleshy parachute like the washing that grew bulbous in errant gusts of wind / She left on that caterpillar’s back with fringed purse humbug-laden, eyes half-shut / I went back to her house, face split in two, head in all places / The string beans whole, un-gutted / Caterpillars going lazily at the lichen / Blue dusk ascending / The washing still on the line, and the phantoms of them in her image