Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Kierkegaard, my heart is torn

by Alice Gillam

I drop my waxed paper parcel
so carefully wrapped by the butcher
onto the cracked concrete pavemnet.

It bounces, slippery with sweat
my palms fail to catch it.
It wriggles free from my grasp
like a child at bath time.

It bounces, once, twice, turns,
and for a moment I think-
It might be saved!
It might be safe,
not break.

But no, the third bounce proves fatal.
The package twists and tears.
The sides split and bright red jewel colour
shines through, glowing and pulsing.
The package has split open and tiny slits
of blood begin to show,
like when you cut your hand
along a wrinkle line.

The blood oozes out and I see it mix
with the muddy exterior of the parcel,
my nervous finger prints now obscured
by lightly bleeding meat.

I stare down at the package by my feet
as it slowly deflates, losing more blood,
losing ground and losing time,
falling back.

I carefully turn the spoilt packet over
with my toe,
as one might a dried up frog in
high summer
to ascertain whether it was really dead.

I turn the spoiled, spilled,
muddy, bloody package over,
and leg it.

Added: 15.03.2011

Judges' comments on this poem

04.05.2011

Great title. Like the surprise, funny ending

04.05.2011

Great title - and enjoyed the curious unfolding of the poem

10.05.2011

I thought this one was interesting, the last line made me laugh!

13.05.2011

So vivid.

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