1st, Short Category 2011 - Sallie Durham

Other People’s Lives

You could tell by the way they walked
keeling to one side, like boats, or drunks
something was wrong.

His eyes were dead as pebbles.
The shuffling woman beside him
wore the same granite look
though she found a light to smile by.

Only their black-and-white mongrel dog
radiant and straining on a long blue leash
seemed to know where they were going.

2nd, Short Category 2011 - Gemma Green


The back garden is glazed by spiders’ webs,
stretched across the bay tree,
softening the angle of the outside tap.

November and I won’t go out there now,
for fear of catching,
as it pulls and breaks against my face.

I watch them behind the kitchen window,
patterning spaces,
dot-to-dot, drawing everything in.

3rd, Short Category 2011 - David Beanland

The Toe Cave

Look into this new world. It smells faintly of caged mice,
which you cannot yet identify.
Pink things wriggle in it, dumb in the gloom and blind.
It is new but familiar.
You are too young to remember, or too old.
Someone shines a torch. You see feet, the drape of duvet.
Last time there were bones,
and slaughter on the walls.