Blue Monday3
Embroidery by Zara Joan Miller

The ‘Blue Monday’ phenomenon claims that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. The equation underpinning the theory was created by psychologist and life coach Dr. Cliff Arnall in 2005 for a press campaign for Sky Travel. Though widely discredited as pseudoscience, ‘Blue Monday’ continues to be adopted by companies and brands. These poems are part of an ongoing response to this claim.

border control 1

05 01 21


you say it’s
just so dumb.
she came to
see the tree
for the woods

finding a stray
in the grass,
you say feel the
tip of this. how five
arrows join to
make a circle


making ends
send me a pink
carnation on your
phone, ruining

border control 2

14 01 21

when the wind turns east

taking a strand of hair or

2 with it

you’re at the border,

checking for surplus

ham, exotic


once a year you

treat yourself to

a cherry coke but

today was

not that day


cats’ eyes

along the


on the way home

on the fourteenth night

of the last of your life


and the shop still

has its lights on

but today was not

that day. a daisy key-

ring in the glove



outside the

blind hospital

they’re practising

archery again

on the lawn


Zara Joan Miller is a poet and artist. Recent contributions include Another Gaze, Fieldnotes journal and Autograph. Screenings of her films include Soft Rio (Marseille Underground Film Festival, Marseille, France, 2021), horsecity (, 2020; Centre of Gravity, Bristol, UK 2020) and HEARSE #2 (, 2020). Zara co-programmes CEREBELLUM at Cafe OTO with Evie Ward.