MAG Poetry Competition 2010 – Shortlisted Poem

In My Pocket

by Cheryl Carman

In my pocket,
A foetus, as flat as an empty envelope,
I cup my hand around it, in my pocket,
Giving it air to breathe,
It’s still alive, I think,
Viscous, a see-through seahorse.
I walk, through a rubber-wet night, out of season,
Car tyres sneeze, gutters gob,
Brown buildings gleam like polished shoes,
Alone with my pocket baby,
I pray my breath is contagious,
As a Chinese whisper in a playground
Or plump gossip shared by friends.
Back in my pocket, my hand stays cupped.

Added: 26.03.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Thought-provoking with beatiful imagery. The poem stays with me after reading! But why 'brown' buildings? I can't picture them.


Striking imagery makes the theme of loss of an unborn moving yet unsentimental.


Screamed quality and originality from within. Loved this.


Very atmospheric. I especially liked the way the description of the feotus mirrors the woman walking in the wet street.


Beautiful imagery - strong and sparse. Well realised, full of feeling.


Terrific. Expresses wonder, anxiety, anxiety, hope, absorption - a foetus not a baby. surprising images, 'i pray my breath is contagious'