Competition Two Highly Commended: In an unwashed t-shirt, bought from a charity shop without checking the pattern or condition, a greetings card writer watches nature documentaries by

A sharp-tailed grouse tap-dances on the snow, feet working like a drill. Alaskan, purple yellow mask on. He has a task to do. It’s not enough to leer at females from the side lines. The field, an arena. If he wants to mate, he has to play. With steely eyes, hens measure his wingspan. Judging. What makes him different from the rest?


Roses are red


On the seabed, a snowflake is crafted. Something unique, requires technique. Tweak after tweak after tweak after tweak. A pufferfish creates patterns in the sand, his mouth moving grains like a man moving boulders. Hopes the girls will notice. Ocean currents squabble to destroy his chance to prove himself.


Violets are blue


A garter snake slithers over a mountain of bodies, a mass of writhing limbs. Strongest wins. Dancers in a nightclub. A disco in the scrub. One female in the throng. She’s grown long understanding. Understanding the forceful are most worthy of her time.


Every night the moon is out


Gaudi in design, the bowerbird adds another petal. Fettles in the undergrowth to find the perfect prize. Pecks it from the stem. She loves me, she loves me not. Of course the nest, but there’s a ballet too. Shuffles claws. Ruffles feathers. Treasure ready, he croons his song of love.


I dream I might impress you






Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her work has appeared in Perhappened Mag, Northern Gravy, Free Flash Fiction, Ellipsis Zine, and Reflex Press among others. Balancing too many projects is her natural state.



“Regent Bowerbird” by seabamirum is licensed with CC BY 2.0. link here.







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