The Public Library Love Letter by Rebecca Stonehill

1

Age seven or eight, I receive my first public library card of
hard, green plastic with black letters emblazoned across it and
I look at no other words apart from these precious two:
Book Token.

I wobble up and down the streets between my house
and the mobile library, perched like a mirage
between roaring cars and the curly slide I stand atop for hours,
unsure if I am brave enough to hurl myself down.

These clouds here taste like by Charley Barnes

I have started to research clouds and how they might taste in different cities. Grandad tells me the clouds are bostin’ around here though: “Full of flavour, wench.” He tells me how he’d scrage his knees terrible to reach the top of the Wrekin, racing his mates to taste the sulphur on the peak. The whisp of the factories they’d come to work in. But Nan says: “He’s yampy, bab.

No Caller ID by Lindsey Goodrow

The other night I got a call at 4:45 AM. I half-squinted at “No Caller ID” flashing on the screen of my phone. This wasn’t the first time that I had received a call like this. My heart rate immediately accelerated and I fumbled to turn my phone on mute. I flipped it over so that the screen was facing downward and focused on controlling my breathing – big belly inhales through my nose. I tried not to wonder if I should have just turned it off, in case the calls continued to come in. Minutes passed in silence, my breath steadied, and I drifted back to sleep.

Using a loophole to call your ex is a bold and pathetic move. To call at 4:45 AM implies drug and alcohol indulgence. To know, the next morning, that “No Caller ID” was most certainly dying from regret and a bad hangover was admittedly satisfying to me for a short period of time. But the unbearable pain deep in my chest and stomach that came with that call and lingered for months after was affirmation that I needed to continue blocking “No Caller ID” from my life.

The Unit by Joe Hakim

There’s no sudden realisation, no great epiphany. It’s just the slow creep of comprehension, like waking up from a long sleep, that brief moment when you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming.

It’s like an archaeologist placing a sheet of tracing paper on an engraving, and then rubbing it with charcoal. Slowly, with a bit of effort, a picture begins to emerge.

A Beginner’s Guide to Staying in Touch After the Apocalypse by Sidney Dritz

Robert Frost wrote, “some say the world will end by fire / some say in ice,” but if he had hung around for a few more years, he might have felt moved to add a stanza or two about the possibilities of superbugs, nuclear annihilation, a robot uprising at Y2K, a racist misreading of the Mayan calendar, and the unlikely but ever-popular zombie apocalypse. Genre conventions dictate that the discerning survivor might hold out for a back-to-the-land-style complete collapse of technological infrastructure, but it’s not just disaster-sophisticates who are always just a few catastrophic weather events away from a formalized nomadic existence enforced by the need to flee hurricanes, heat waves, extreme blizzards, and flooding. But no matter which flavor of destruction is your drug of choice, I think we can all agree on one thing: in the event of a survivable cataclysm, communication is important.

Luckily for you, I’m-Afraid-To-Watch-The-News Weekly has you covered with five practical and stylish ideas for keeping track of your nearest and dearest when the end is even nearer than they are.

Poverty Line by Emma Robertson

The queue at the foodbank is even longer than usual. Recent events have hit people hard; so many lost jobs and reduced incomes taking their toll on local families. According to Twitter, the number of people needing to use this particular foodbank has more than quadrupled in the past three months and the size of the queue would seem to bear that out. They put out a tweet this afternoon – we are running out of food, please come down and donate what you can.