Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010


by Debbie Jellings

She was around twelve: at the brink of womanhood, a pale-skinned pre-Raphaelite
beauty, brick-red crinkly hair, eyes brim full of soul and fury.  Her wheelchair was
jack-knifed between the canteen hot service and salad bar, defiantly not in a queue
that had anyway now disbanded. Former queuees stood around, ring-fencing her as if
we had an American screen goddess in our midst. Everyone had this ‘cannot compute’
look like disoriented kids first put in a classroom. Only nobody moved a muscle and all
eyes turned her way. Then I saw her hand: a fork without tines with an afterbirth sheen.
Her cross, on display like that.  It exerted this loud hush: as if her hand were a conductor’s
baton or deliberate in any way.  I can’t remember if I held my breath but I probably
did. The kitchen clang faded. The only sound was a heart pounding inside someone’s

Added: 10.03.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


A prose poem with symetric constructions.


Powerful, but maybe more effective if the lines wwere arranged differently, as there's an inpenetrable feel, not in keeping with main image.


liked the different form of this.