1st, Open Category 2011 - Tom Warner


Day Thirty-Two

More wrecked fuselage washed up this morning.
Biggest section yet, like a whale carcass in the breakers.
There’s a corpse still belted in a seat, the face bloated
in its oxygen mask. He has a beard. None of us recognises him.

Jane’s still not talking. Mainly she cries and hugs her knees.
When she really gives it some, her shoulders shake slightly.
She’s sunburnt raw and her lips are scabby and dry.
I’ve moved my shelter further down the beach.

Marcus spells out HELP in rocks on the white sand.
Filippo says it should be SOS. The universal sign for distress
is actually a large triangle; I know this but don’t say.
I read it once on MSN; How to survive a desert island.

Rev. Biddle is losing weight, but remains a true believer.
His sermons are beginning to chew at people’s nerves.
I don’t fancy his chances, not long term.
Since Bryony ran off into the trees, nobody’s seen her.   

Marcus came over today to ask how I was getting on
with that radio set. It’s going to take some time, I said.
Salt has eaten at the circuit board. I must have looked the part,
wearing the big headphones like I was trawling interference

for a voice, a signal, anything (are you there, survivors?).
Truth is, I’ve got the Test Match on. It’s the second day
and we’re batting well, but I keep it to myself, obviously.
When rain stops play, I listen to commentators filling air

and whittle at the bails I’m carving from a piece of driftwood.
Sometimes I lie back with one hand under my head,
like a gorilla in a zoo, and think of my red-faced boss
clearing my desk and struggling to cover the hours I’ve left.

2nd, Open Category 2011 - Clare Diprose


Ty bach

She remembers the last time he was home,
how she watched him in tousled sleep.
how his hand grasped the rumpled blankets,
knuckles white against her neat stitched edges.

She turns her head sharply to catch him
walking past the window in his work jacket,
though she knows it still hangs on the door.
She breathes him in, her brow to its rough wool.

The neighbours say she's not been right
since the telegram; she sees their nets move
as she pulls the door to and walks down the path,
the candle flame cupped by her hand.

The small light casts backward shadows.
In the ty bach, he winks from a scrap or mirror
his chin covered in shaving soap,
before shrugging on khaki and sinking in mud.

Wind blows his name through the lost knots.
The candle reaches out to a square of newspaper
threaded on a string from the nail he put up.
She sees how the flames embroider the door.

3rd, Open Category 2011 - Dorothy Yamamoto


The Mushroom Shed

If they come back
my mother will materialize
in her armchair, a book
fluttering its new white wings

but my father will walk through the garden
looking critically at everything:
the unswept leaves, the ground elder
sneaking on to the lawn.

I think the shy scalps
of the carrots wil please him,
also the birdtable
with its offering of crumbled rice

but the moment I wait for
is when he eases open thedoor
and steps into darkness.

He's back on the mountainside
among the mushroom plots
roped off for neigbhours.
The old watchman, Koma, lets him through.

The smell of the mushrooms
is everywhere - he kneels
among the braille of pineneedles
hoping to uncover their whole bald world...

as here, by the empty trays,
I watch his fingers silently questioning
and, little again, I crouch
close to him, almost behind him,
to see what he sees.