Competition by Meg Barton

OK, that’s it.
Sent it in.
Hope he doesn’t jeer at it.
Chuck it in the bin.
I followed all the guidelines to a T.
No staples, single spacing, name on separate page.
Expect he likes professionals like me.
Although I’m a beginner, obviously.
‘Emerging’ they call it when you’ve had just one
Published in a local magazine.
What if he really likes it?
Have to go to Inverness.
How do I get there?
Prize money so much less,
Than what it costs you for the fare.
And what if at the reading he takes my hand
And says “We meet at last, the only other poet I have met
Who truly, deeply, understands”?
What would I wear?
And maybe he would ask me for a drink,
Say “Tell me what you think –
Of poetry”. Maybe we’d fall in love.
Live together somewhere by the sea –
All open fires, long walks and talks on literature.
Better start on Milton. Ezra Pound.
And Blake.
And maybe tackle Ulysses in case.
And how do I know we’d actually get on?
Although I love his poems. Bit intense?
That eagle face, the cheekbones.
Every day?
I don’t suppose he watches Masterchef.
Or Gogglebox. And I’d miss both of those.
Just walks and watching seagulls I suppose.
And I would miss my boyfriend, and my house.
My colleagues even. Wouldn’t have a job.
Although I could hobnob with poets.
And of course I’d be one.
Better lose some weight and get the reading done.
See how he fixes me with piercing eyes
Like some fantastic griffin in his lair.
Not sure I really want to join him there.
In fact I wish I’d never sent it in.
Oh god.
Please god.
Don’t let me win.

Meg Barton lives in Oxford, and has been published in a few magazines including The Interpreter’s House and Lighten Up Online.


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