Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

Flat Pack

by Anita Maccallum

A flat pack version of my former self,
lying in a pile, one screw missing.
Two point five children, searching for instructions
lost somewhere along the way.  Me, waiting
disassembled, what fits where,  who knows?
Screwdriver resting in dusty drawers, lost.
 
No longer wild and free, I wander, lost
inside a regulated rectangle, willing myself
to speak up, while his allen key pokes me. I know
what he’s trying to achieve, but parts are missing.
Is anyone looking, rummaging for me? I lie waiting
praying someone, somewhere finds the instructions.
 
‘I won’t be dictated to by instructions,’
my husband claims. Once lost
now found, at the computer. Me, waiting,
stuffed under the bed, a flat version of my self.
No-one has really noticed I’m missing
I’m a faded impression of what I once knew.
 
Memories made from mdf, he knew
what was promised, 
intricate instructions
to hold me together; 
forgotten; missing.
Fighting through a foreign language, he’s lost.
I admit I have withheld myself
lying still,  coded and cold, waiting.
 
He strokes my silky soft surface, waiting,
fingers fondle my lengthy legs, I know
what comes next, I’ll finish myself      
 off later.  Part A fits part B, old instructions
are followed. Feigned ignorance looses
appeal, as once again the final piece is missing.
 
My cheeky Chippendale is missing
that fantasy is cracked at the edges.
I’m left with a bit of rough; splinters, waiting
to be removed. I haven’t completely lost
faith that my stripper will come, I know
he’ll smooth me away from here. Instructions
won’t be needed, I’ll please myself.
 
 

Added: 30.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem

11.05.2010

This is a really good metaphor, a powerful image, but it gets a bit stretched. Maybe if the poem was more concentrated.

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