Volume 3 Issue 4, October 2019

Rachel Cunniffe

A Shard of a Second


The koi carp had a world map

Running through its scales

Orange, blue, mauve, brown, silver, black, green.

Landmasses not an orderly rainbow.

Continents condensed latitudinally

Stretched longitudinally.

The boy’s hand cast a shadow

As he reached to dip it into the pond

Algae waved when his fingers entered.

The fish flashed in a nose dived.

Africa and India merged.

The afternoon dissolved.






Don't  want to be

broken necked herring gull

Don't want to be hugged by a heron

Don't want sharp falcon talons


In hawthorn, small and brown,

A sparrow.

Dappled camouflage

In spring sun.

To survive all I need,






Could be permanent daylight

If you let it….

Dip fingers in tepid water

Outstare a blue-eyed bear.


There are gulps to be taken,

Flies to  be  swatted

In a tremulous landscape.

The words “See  translation”

Won’t help manage ice/fire.


I’ll breathe through my mouth

Write passwords in the air

Which no one can read.

About the Poet

Rachel Cunniffe is based in the North East of  England and has written a  wide range of poetry since being a teenager, has an MA in Writing Studies gained in 1995 from Edgehill University College. Real jobs stifled her creativity for 16 years and she has recently been able to partially retire and spend more time writing again. She has been a member of several creative writing groups one of which has been in existence since 1991. She read regularly at the now sadly no more Callender Poetry Festival in September during that time for about 9 years. She lives with a large black dog and two cats.

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Published by The Alternative.