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Open Call

Selected ‘Lines’ Open Calls – Poetry

Various contributors

Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic brought grief, the crisis also allowed us to look deeper within ourselves. It brought us closer to our interior world. Although somewhat blurry, many of us drew boundaries, lines, a map around ourselves, which helped us move forward. These poems and short stories meditate on these experiences.


You tell us about this little boy

who didn’t know how to play

he said he couldn’t draw with crayons

all he did was go down the shops,

his star burned briefly at the play centre.

It’s sad, you say, he’ll be in a

Young Offenders Institution by now

he didn’t stand a chance.

Beneath the collective heartfelt sigh

of well-intentioned slander

I’m with him in the ring again

prize boxer, racing jockey, dead soldier:

my foster brother, sentenced to no fixed abode

sticking out his thumb on that wasted forest road.

Rosalie Alston


The Hungry Skin 

i’ve grown

and severed

last year’s skin

the one bruised by







this skin has    space

to flex

hungry fingers

digits ready to

unfurl like

germinating shoots


this new skin doesn’t care

what they think

it’s a reclaimed skin

a skin

just happy to

be worn with


on my back

Alice Eaves


The other end of the line.

I mean my job is now

inputting dead people into spreadsheets

and taking calls.

I got speaking to an old man.

He keeps phoning to pay his bill.

I have to tell him, you canceled the service

a long time ago Mr —.

You have nothing to owe us.

He still hangs on to talk,

tells me I should ask for a rise

or come to County Cork for a coffee sometime.

Next winter. I laugh.

That’ll do fine.

It’s been snowing for weeks and he isn’t sure if his landline is working

so he wanted to check.

Can’t you hear that awful buzzing?

I hope they fix it soon, I say.

God willing, he says.

Abby Crawford 



As we are closer to death now

I fill my cup with iced tea.

Your fables tricked my mind

Heart felt too tight.

The ghosting stories were atrocities

That I escaped just in time

On paper, I sprinted with signature

(I loved the definite sound the pen made)

On street, boarded the last train to nature.

I wished we stitched loosened threads

Weaved dreams due their time.

But you wanted the world

And I could only offer you my light.

Bhumika Popli


About the contributors 

Rosalie Alston has poems in Spelt magazine, Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World , Voices Along the Road for child refugees, and in adoption anthologies. Online, her poems are published by Dust, the Poetry Village, Poetry Kit and PoetryandCovid. Her poem ‘Moving foster home again, yet I am not dead’ was Highly Commended in the Poetry Space Competition 2020.

Alice Eaves is a British artist & writer based in Manchester, United Kingdom. Her work predominantly focuses on the intersections of femininity and the modern world.

Abby Crawford is a writer and poet based in Exeter.

Bhumika Popli is a poet and student at the University of Exeter pursuing MA in English Literary Studies. She has been an arts, culture and travel journalist and has written for international publications such as The Caravan, Wire, Aksgar and lensculture among others. Her poem, ‘Pandemic, a beauty’ was listed as commendable mention in Wingword Poetry Prize 2020. Previously, she has worked as a researcher for non-fiction books alongside a poetry reader for the African magazine ‘Akuko’. She works as a freelance copyeditor for publishing houses such as Penguin Random House.

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