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Our included publication for October is How to Grow Matches by S.A. Leavesley, published by Versus the Grain Poetry Press.

Uncomfortable, powerful, and engaging, these poems require to be checked out. And to read
them is to ride a discomfiting rough existing revealed in pictures of clocks with disparate rhythms, clouds that liquify into “dark angels of rain”, stacks of invested matches that may make a bonfire. And burning is what these poems do: burning through skilfully managed anger at the invisibility of women, their lack of a powerful good example to follow, they are prepared to burst into flame, advising ladies to “reclaim their share”.’ Gill McEvoy

‘What immediately strikes me in Leavesley’s poetry is that sense of being spoken with directly, forcefully. The anger– at difficult advice, at the covert and overlooked work, at mere survival versus the odds– is always balanced with craft and a flawless sense of timing, and a vision which ranges from the orchestra pit to the lab, via geopolitics, extinction and the repeating nested image of the matryoshka doll. A necessary pamphlet.’ Luke Kennard

How to grow matches

Take the long matchsticks:
those like pink-tipped bulrushes,
those Gretel’s step-mum
might strike to light her oven.Snap one– like a sharp blow sideways behind a guy’s knees.
Then another and another
for each jibe or slight.Note how quickly the wood divides after years of surprise anger. A dropped forest at your feet, and still the stack grows!Lay the toppled pieces against each other’s thinness, rested on

crumpled paper. Now you have a bonfire.Don’t think of Moses,
not Guy Fawkes or Jeanne d’Arc, however of waking every day to stroke your curves into those clothing,
hip-sways and lip expressions excused for your office as a woman.And his open mouth is an olive grove Envision a green slope,
the cool rows of trees. Sun swimming pools in your eyes and laps the hollows of your upturned face.Of course there are shadows: a semaphore of leaves tattoos the earth’s skin as

your passing bodies sketch their type versus grass.Everything is a dance: birds, flies, the cicadas ‘accento, brillante. Words are lots of, as lots of as the grove’s virgin

olives.Take one softly in your mouth, let teeth close on flesh as if trapping the wafer trace of
a butterfly wing. Hold it
carefully, gently bite harder.

Enjoy your tongue’s flutter and tingle until you hit stone resistance. Stop dead, draw each word clean, then spit out the pit.Forget beef, forget chicken On the day

you decide, you open the refrigerator and observe how his options have actually overpowered your tastes.You secure the eggs. Each shell broken now is a spillage blended to lightness.One carefully sliced

onion. The idea of your knife presses down on a pepper: the red curves of clean cuts.Throw this in the pan’s sizzle. Let pale cubes of potato fry in these intense Spanish juices.Watch heat lick this to a

moon as big as your plate, thicker than your paper tongue, softer than his steak, and speckled with spice. Recover your share. Eat only as much

as you like.Publicity shots Use the pose as if born with it. Don’t curve a smile beyond 45 degrees for worry you

‘ll appear too keen.Selfies are permitted on social media, but spontaneity needs to be planned:
angle and light fixed for that natural appearance– as if glancing up from a book in hand,
or in some way depicting that you have a life outside your own pages.Do not blink, twitch or confess to an un-identical twin beyond this image who can’t control their own ageing.Do you see now, Dorian?Look, here’s where we’ll start, just as I finished with Becky Sharp.
Tilt your face to one side, then shoot

from above to reduce shadows and chins.Don’t be downcast if it’s tiring. Youth is a tough art to master at the time, now past.Above all, practise your nonchalance.

I taught Narcissus well however he still changes his profile pic daily.Previous publication credits for these poems are Magma, Synaesthesia, The Chronicles of Eve Anthology (Paper Swans Press),
respectively. S. A. Leavesley is a poet, fiction author, reporter and editor

, fitting words around life and life around words. Overton Poetry Prize
winner 2015, she is author of four poetry collections, 2 pamphlets, a visiting poetry-play and 2
novellas. Her poetry has been published by the Financial Times,
the Guardian, The Forward Book of Poetry 2016, on Worcestershire

buses and in the Blackpool Illuminations. She runs V. Press poetry and flash fiction imprint.How to Grow Matches is offered

to buy from the< a href= target= _ blank

rel=noopener > Against the Grain Poetry Press site.