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March 2021

Kale Chesney Sweden 83.jpg

rebecca violet white


I think autumn is the best season to paint dinosaurs

because an English October is lizard-coloured –

my terrible reptiles are shades of failing light and damp leaves –

at this time of year, amongst the quietus and murk,

it would not be remarkable to meet a monster.


I have picked beech nut for the Dicynodon’s dragging belly,

remember conkers on the ground, implausibly bright in the mud

and recreate that glint on its beak and think I hear a cracking...

Later, dulled and dry, it is quiet.


The long back of Megalosaurus is shades of lichen – 

I stroke out its mackerel stripes with a grey-green silt,

a forest pond at the end of the day.

I dab on his carnivorous eyes – 

use the bitter orange resin from a rent in cherry bark.

That night I dream of bone-coloured teeth bared at my window.


I decide on the sky after sleet for the wings of a Pterodactylus,

souse my brush in hoary ink,

a pallid mushroom-gill-grey for its body – 

keeping it light enough for lifting off the page.


In autumn, I try to draw the fearfully great dragons back

and as the year extinguishes,

this gives me life.

REBECCA VIOLET WHITE is a poet living on a narrowboat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, England with her cat Maanjhee. She is preoccupied by the outdoors. Since finishing her Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia in 2014, she has been published by Ink, Sweat and Tears, For Book’s Sake, Elbow Room, Telltale Press and The Emma Press.

Rebecca is a co-runner up in the The Signal House Edition x Write like a Grrrl 2020 collaboration. The competition was judged by award-winning poet and Write Poetry like a Grrrl course leader Jo Flynn and The Edition’s Poetry Editor Erica Gillingham. The full shortlist included ‘Seeking alternative accommodation’ by Hannah Allies, ‘Y2K’ by Rachel Neithercut, and ‘When they were gods’ by Hanna Thomas Uose.

KALE CHESNEY is a queer photographer and designer living in Portland, Oregon. A visual storyteller, they received a BA from University of Santa Cruz in Printmaking and Photography. They grew up in the country, collect cameras, and avoid cilantro at all cost. WEBSITE. INSTAGRAM.


(Image credit: Sweden 83, Found photo collage, February 2021, Kale Chesney, by kind permission of the artist.)

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