TWO POEMS – Ella Cunningham

Image: Edward Hopper, Railroad Sunset (1929)

Ella Cunningham graduated from University of Birmingham last year, having
studied English with Creative writing and specialising in poetry in her final year.
Her dissertation focused on making love poetry more accessible and in-line with
the digital age, along with attempting to normalise and de-sensationalise LGBTQ
relationships in love poetry. Aside from writing, she enjoys climbing, Netflix, and
brunch. She tweets at @ellamadalene.

This poetry by Ella is also featured in Issue Two of Porridge, available for purchase here.

Aubade | Sleeper Train

[20:35 Vienna]

Our cabin is just big enough
to house the whole world
as we know it, staring back at us

face to face in makeshift bunkbeds,
we are cocooned tight in nylon sheets
and sleepless for fear of falling.

Scattered on the tracks behind us
are the hours we’ve already filled
with anecdotes, inside jokes

and obsessively tracking our location
on google maps, as your lips touch mine
in a hundred different towns an hour.

I see nothing of Leoben, Villach
but your face in the intermittent lights
of their train stations as we pass

and wonder what Treviso could offer
that would rival the shadows cast
by your eyelashes against your cheeks.

As the first light of Venetian morning
beams into the cabin we pull on sundresses,
bumping elbows into walls and I wish

the journey had been twice as long.

[06:50 Venice]


One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

You tell me my belief is just folklore,
that scientists have discovered magpies
are actually afraid of shiny things.

I find trinkets for you regardless:

hair pins


mismatched earrings

plastic beads,


sea glass



polished stones



you create mosaics as you daydream,
piecing together my efforts to impress you.

I salute at lone magpies for good luck
passing it off as a flick of my hair
so you won’t think I’m superstitious
until the day I look out of the window
to see you, confronted by a single magpie.

I hold my breath and watch
as in my absence you,
sweet and cynical,


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