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UXO by Emily Keverne

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There's been a UXO sighting in the green scrub of Laos -
One sleek aged cylinder, otherwordly,
Ghostling low where the birds hop,
Tickling pinkie toes and feet
Clean off their hinges.

Though they sky-fell a million years ago
They patiently wait to beam up children,
Offer their gamble to the farmer's crop,
And lop, and lop, and lop.

And they say "take care" because they know Their world of fractured soil,
Where your life could become ashes - still - After every other soul's gone home.





by Emily Keverne

Hannah at the Launderette by Laura Scoble

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Hannah came from a nice part of Surrey where people gave their dirty clothes to a young man at the back door who brought them back a few days later, clean and ironed.

Once married to handsome Jerry, however, Hannah forfeited back doors and all that came through them. But her sweet-talking husband did buy her a washing machine and steam iron with some of their wedding money. He even taught her how to use them.
Jerry, meanwhile, got on with betting on dead certs at various horse races around the country.
Sympathy for Jerry’s rotten luck survived intact through three wedding anniversaries, the loss of Hannah’s heated rollers, camera, the best of their furniture and even some of her jewellery. Only when her washing machine was sold to pay the bookie who’d popped round for a chat late one night, did she begin to suspect that gorgeous Jerry was completely useless at backing the winning horse.
Hannah had never used a launderette before.
She arrived with her dirty clothes neatly folded in a suitca…

Remembrance Day by Robert Beveridge

In this world we all have silver eyes


hunched in an alley at night in a dark
overcoat and a floppy hat bottle
of cheap liquor next to me like
a prayer candle that went out hours ago


the beginning of a scene that has played
itself out a thousand times before
all we need to do is wait for the lights/
camera/action/enter stage left the guy


with the blue shirt and the badge


and his hand grabs my shoulder and my
knife goes into his gut and I stand up
and whisper in his ear “regards from my
brother” and once I finish drawing the T
on his body it’s only a short jaunt
to the river to wash off and send the clothes
on their way to the ocean

Snowy Down by Judith Goldsmith

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She left from the gathering around the grave, leaving behind the kindness that couldn't reach her. She ignored the concerned calls and drifted deeper among the heavy granite slabs. She had no direction beyond 'away'.

She saw the stark red, harsh against the snow, before she saw the tiny corpse. A sparrow, plucked from the air by winter's call and shredded by a passing cat, perhaps. She looked, but didn’t register this other, lesser, death.

Even so, she reached unsteadily down towards a fluffy, furled feather lying in the glistening snow. She touched it gently. It had so little substance that her skin could not believe there was anything there - but then her finger tips no longer knew how to notice touch. It was one of those unexpected changes that had come on her with age. The drying skin, turning to paper; the muffled hearing; the clouding eyes. They had laughed together at it.

Carefully, clinging for support to a nearby stone, she knelt in the crisp moisture and picke…

Closing up shop...

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Indeed, we're sad to say that Cafe Aphra is closing its doors from the end of December 2018, at least for a temporary period during Spring 2019 and possibly longer. This is so that the three of us who currently run the blog can have some time to concentrate on other life and writing projects that we have going on. 

We will therefore not be accepting any more submissions from now on.

We'd like to thank all our lovely contributors for sharing their wonderful work with us and for giving us and so many others so much reading pleasure over the years. It's been a fabulous experience!

We hope that we've provided a safe and welcoming online environment for aspiring and established writers to air their work in public, sometimes for the first time.

With all our thanks, yours as ever,

Sara, Barbara and Charlotte - current baristas on duty

... and, of course, all the other Cafe Aphra baristas who have helped us keep this place open over the years! Chad, Yvonne, Dianne, Zoe, and everyone…

Dust by Paul Taylor-McCartney

As it settles

The brilliant darkness

Of your passing

Masks each particle,

Point sharp, end of a needle,

Spliced in half, small.



As if weightless

Through time

I hurtle, hearing

Whispers, stammered breaths,

That dreadful, collective

Mournful slide into silence.



As once removed,

The whole world

Comes at me through fog,

Opaque forms shimmering,

Fizzing, dissolving, retreating,

As was often your way.



And the dust

Of that final touch,

Marks the moment

When all passed from dark to light,

Caught on tips of fingers, lips,

Crown, heart and proof of life.



As if in six months,

April Fool’s Day

Trick of the mind,

I can bring your

Songs, stories, smiles

Back from mere chalk and have them become



Clay in my hands.


by Paul Taylor-McCartney

Night Skating by Alyson Rhodes

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Me and Joe were inseparable as boys. “You could be twins,” me Mum used to say smiling. She’d pack us both brown bags filled with squashed sarnies and an apple each, before ushering us out for the day. Watch less, parent less, we’d explore for hours. In old quarries, up meadows and in the bombed out ruins. Joe’s Mum never packed him a lunch. She struggled to feed the triplets let alone Joe, her eldest child. The triplets had been an “unwanted leaving present from the G. I’s,”I’d heard Mum telling Mrs Jakes, the next door neighbour. There was no holding Joe back. He climbed, ran, jumped the highest, fastest and furthest of us kids at St Edmunds. He’d have been head boy too or so said popular opinion, if it hadn’t been for his family ‘background.’ It was night-times when we had our greatest adventures. After midnight, while our families slept, we’d climb out of our bedroom windows and meet up by Beckett’s Pond. In summer we’d build a tree house in the woods. But winter was our favourite se…