All About Our Fathers

All About Our Fathers is the second collaboration of three poets exploring their relationship with a parent in all its complexities.

From a father's vice like grip on youth, a cigar tamponing his lips, a smell of gunshot as he enters the kitchen, these fathers evoke memories embedded in the senses. Blue eyes glimmer in the green-screen night as fathers drive towards a rocky beach or a field of honey locusts as if intent on healing the conflict between shadow and light.

Vasiliki Albedo

Vasiliki Albedo's poems have most recently appeared in Poetry London, The Poetry Review, Oxford Poetry, AGNI, Beloit Poetry Journal, Wasafiri, Magma, SPAMzine and The Rialto. She won The Poetry Society’s 2022 Stanza competition, was a finalist in Frontier's Global Poetry Prize 2023 and has been commended in the National Poetry competition, the Hippocrates Prize and the Ambit competition. She lives in Greece and consults development organisations combating poverty and climate change.

Sunday Afternoon


My brother crouches by a car with a grenade.

I am sitting behind him on the couch, my head

on my father’s chest rolling with his raspy breath

as he polishes his gun. Our mother’s in the kitchen

slicing onion into the tomatoes, oblivious to the M67

under my brother’s thumb, as he presses

on the X button killing a couple of guys.

I am letting him take extra turns, happy


on this homely afternoon, with rain percussing

the roof and gunfire interrupting like laughter

in a sitcom. I hardly notice the disturbance

until the air cracks open, and I turn to see

the pane smashing, my father questioning

his hand. I thought it wasn’t loaded he says,

as we search the balcony for the bullet

that almost took my brother away.

Mary Mulholland

Mary Mulholland’s poems are recently published in The Rialto, 14 Magazine, Raceme, Finished Creatures, Stand and several anthologies. Recently she won 3rd prize (equal) in Wolves Lit Prize, came 3rd in Teignmouth Competition, was shortlisted for the Aesthetica and Bedford Prizes and longlisted in the National Poetry Competition, 2022. She is also an occasional shepherdess. Her debut pamphlet What the Sheep Taught Me (Live Canon) was published in 2022, @marymulhol

My father paints cities and landscapes         


For over an hour he stares across sun-bleached

terraces to Mtafa, his smoke-blue eyes blinking

beneath a fixed frown, studying how light falls

on distant sandstone. Then the tinkling of his brush

clouds the glass, and he draws the sable over

raw, a glistening line. A dip of water before

adding burnt and cobalt blue to make a brown

mess of the white enamel lid, in contrast

to the mathematical clarity of his buildings.

As if he's intent on settling the conflict between

shadow and light, giving each its space. Spare brushes

like soldiers in a row. I ask why he never paints

people, and he makes me stand by the oleander,

for an age, my hand raised towards a bird

that's not there.


Simon Maddrell

Simon Maddrell is a queer Manx man, thriving with HIV and living in Brighton & Hove. He’s published in sixteen anthologies and numerous publications including AMBIT, Butcher’s Dog, Poetry Wales, Stand, The Moth, The Rialto, Under the Radar, Ink Sweat and Tears, The New European, Morning Star and Long Poem Magazine. Simon was first-runner up in the Frogmore Poetry Prize 2020 and highly commended in The Winchester Poetry Prize 2021. In 2020, he was longlisted in The Rialto Nature and Place Competition. Simon’s debut pamphlet, Throatbone, was published by UnCollected Press in July 2020. Queerfella jointly-won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition, 2020. Simon's upcoming pamphlets are Isle of Sin (Polari Press, March 2023) and The Whole Island (Valley Press, July 2023).

Lamping wild rabbits


Chalking gravestones with Dad tracing family logic ––

inscribed, fading ancestors, crumbling islands of stone.

Polaroids of people gone, re-faced for posterity,

white-powdered cheeks, dust marks death on my pants. 

Both watching gravestones falling out of the colour TV,

tombs advertising AIDS cracking the mantelpiece,

Rock Hudson’s Dynasty crashing the spotlight,

those disowned corpses engraved nowhere.

Nowhere to hide, like lamping wild rabbits,

headlight executions reflecting my fear

of myxomatosis spreading, swollen-eyed deaths

of epidemic proportions discussed in armchairs

with Dad, puffing his care for island burrows.

Ravaging wild rabbits, sea kale desolated

at Prospect Cottage, like Derek. Sebastiane

and Caravaggio my celluloid palliation in VHS.

HIV –– a greater rabbit-shocked fate, but still

my gravestone stands, waiting, chiselled,

painted peacock pink.