Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

How to Listen

by Jennifer Wilson

Arrange to meet in a crowded bar;
browse the wine list as she starts to talk.
As the truth starts to come out,
scan the menu for a bite to eat.
Ignore the tears welling in her eyes,
as the door opens to reveal her other half,
then wave him over as she makes for the ladies,
trying to disguise her red face.
When she returns to the table,
notice her flinch as her partner joins you.
Realise, as you spot the bruising on her arm,
you should have tried harder to hear.

Added: 19.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


stunted rhythm means poem reads like a series of dispassionate statements


A dark glimpse into a painful situation. Almost theatrical. Strong images.