Issue Three:
Smallholding

By Di Slaney

Every dawn she looks up, sucks on doing words
to break her fast, breathes in the day. So many
to roll around a mouth starved of soil; she grinds
their grit between her teeth, their loam clagging
under her tongue, a raised bed to plant the seedlings
from her mind. Words like tupping and scouring,
moulting and docking, dagging and flagging. They
make her smile, these hard sounds that taste as
they paint, no place for dainty ears now. Crutching,
fettling, suckling; leaching, pleaching, polling. More
than a syllable string, the day’s to do list pinned down
sharp, big tasks made small. In the holding, she
learns what no course can teach; the weaning from
loss, tears drenching knackerman and carcass,
a voice not her own harrowing life to the wind.


About the Contributor

Di Slaney is a smallholder, marketing consultant and publisher from Nottinghamshire. She co-owns Candlestick Press, and her poems have been widely published and commended. She won first prize in the 2014 Brittle Star and 2015 Four Corners poetry competitions.  Her pamphlet Dad’s Slideshow is available from Stonewood Press, and her first poetry collection Reward for Winter is published by Valley Press.


Losslit canon

The Lies We Tell - Mahendra Solanki

A beautifully compact, understated poetry collection which deals with family relationships, belonging and displacement; all underwritten by a strong sense of loss, a particular sadness first evoked by the lies of memory in the collection’s title and opening poem.

See all entries in the Losslit canon


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