Poetry: "Counting Women" by Kerry Ryan

Pale moons, burst balloons, they are ashen on the Zoom call.

How’s everyone doing? I ask. The feedback echoes for eternity.

I’ve been writing poems, Magda says. Me too, says Frances.

Rosie Delaware has not stopped since the news came in.

What else to do with all these feelings? Lita says. I can’t sleep.

It’s the same on Tuesday night, Wednesday, all day Thursday.

Their eyes bloodshot from constant doomscrolling.

It’s where I used to live. Across from my old school.

I worked with her once. I knew her best friend.

I see them shiver, sniff but by Friday, I see only her:

young, happy, talking about moving to Margate

over Pinot Grigio bought from Brixton Sainsburys.

Hummus and a pot of sunblush tomatoes in her bag,

a steel water bottle and a ticket for a festival in Spain.

Poems? How can poems help? Ally asks, face a mourning mask.

Kerry has been shortlisted for the Myriad Books First Edition competition, won the Spilling Ink short story prize, had writing published in The Manchester Review, The Kenyon Review, Spink, Off Menu Press, Being Human Anti-Diary, 3am Magazine among others. Her play ‘Trust’ was staged at the Gulbenkian Theatre in 2020. She wrote and staged

two plays at Folkestone 48. Her poetry has been published widely including Foxglove Press, Off Menu Press, Queerlings, (Im)possible Performances & Custom Labs.