In the Shape of Men
We made the heads of Styrofoam
so not to be too heavy on their frail necks.
Hearts? Simply-fashioned, from lumps of stone.
Arms, legs; bent sticks.
Torsos were fabricated from chicken-wire and some kind
of pliable fabric. Enough to hold
it all together. Give them a plausible
sense of form. We didn’t make them too clever,
after what happened last time.
A day in autumn, when you can still believe in warmth.
The big yellow sun
rolls over soft lavender hilltops,
cupped, as if by hands outstretched,
to catch your falling heart.
The days are short,
but they are not yet pinched
into a few cold hours of grey light.
Those coming days of loneliness,
an empty hearth.
What’s left is the last of the afternoon
the hourglass emptying
into the earth.
If you don’t know where you’re looking,
that generous floating orb of sun
could be rising or setting.
You can fool yourself if you want to.
Elizabeth Stott lives in the north of England and worked in industry as a scientist, but now writes fiction and poetry. She maintains an interest in science, particularly cosmology, planetary science and AI. Her stories and poems have appeared in magazines, anthologies, online and as a short story collection, Familiar Possessions. Most recently, stories have featured in TSS Publishing, Liars’ League spoken word events, The Woven Tale Press and in the We/She anthology from Arachne Press. Poems appeared in the PEN Write to be Counted anthology, Speakeasy Magazine and the Writers’ Café Magazine. More information is available from elizabethstott.wordpress.com.
Chloë Harrison is a British artist and writer and a graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London. Her visual practice employs a range of media but most commonly involves intricate combinations of printmaking and sculpture. It is rooted in a curiosity with the body, playing with ideas of unconventional grace and humorous representations of characters from her life and their relationships.
The Husband Head and The Anxious Wife is a 2018 duo of sculptures made from metal, plaster, a pillow, elastic and digitally reproduced etchings on silk. They are inspired by the tensions and awkwardness that can arise in a relationship strained by mental ill health, playing with simultaneous intimacy and distance, love and acrimony.