Surviving Water

salt purple
waving cold
bobbing and watching
blocks of dry light
lives of the elderly
in high concrete stacked
on the coast,
somewhere OK to die
and gaze out
over the great sea.

I swim with my mother
tide mindful
as evening folds
down on the dim
peopled beach
where we talked of
drowning all summer
and say ‘if night came with no feet
on the land we’d just
watch that tall building

stay in the water in
line in the dark
with the windows and wait
for rescue or dawn gulls
or ships at the end
of your sight - "I don’t
fancy the cold, do you?"
but she wasn’t sure she’d remember
which block of flats to tie her life to.

near certain no one would last
as far as the morning,
we kept toes in the sand
for as long as we could swim.

Rob Yates is a young writer currently based in London and originally from Essex. He has released a small collection of poetry entitled 'The Distance Between Things'. He has also had work appear in Agenda, Envoi, Bodega, and other literary magazines. Some of his writing and recordings can be found via

kyrah gomes is a 17 year old student from NYC who loves poetry, literature, and authentic self-expression. her work has been featured in Cathartic Literary Magazine and other online publications. 

an ode to patellar contusions

my scraped knees are tinted with the primary colored paint 

of the schoolyard. the memories have cheapened but they hurt still,

sepia-toned yet somehow fresher than morning dew. 

i scrubbed at them with the bristles of dollar-store toothbrushes

dipped in rubbing alcohol, secretly relishing the burn. the scratches

on my palm disappear in the daylight, simple wounds of self-protection. 


sometimes i pick at the half-healed scabs, pink-backed and ringed in white. every year has added another layer, but my mother’s fingers peel the 

barbed-wire worries from my skin. suddenly i am nine years old again, 

made of strawberry jam, in a world as soft as rabbit fur - not innocent,

but still simple. i want to wrap these moments in silk and swallow them,

settled inside my heart forever, right between my aorta and right atrium 

so they can trickle slowly into my pulse. the world has shifted since then,

but the sun still knows all of my secrets, like how i still count my steps

endlessly in my head, one-two-three, always with the right foot first, 

a teabag steeped in superstition and perched on the edge of bitterness.

my mother, my muse - i vow to wear my bruised knees and bright colors

proudly like she taught me, swim in the midnight gulf of my dreams, 

hold my heart in my hands and let beams of sunlight shine through the cracks. for now i make her orange-scented scones, drizzle them in a sticky-sweet glaze of all the things i am unsure of how to say - thank you, i’m sorry, i love you.