1st Prize: John Foggin

Julie

According to the specialists you died six months ago
and I like sitting with you, proving there’s an afterlife
as we roll cigarettes, you perched like a wire bird
up on your kitchen top beside the angel
that I made for you before I knew you weren’t alive.

Your fridge’s crusted like a wreck, with magnets
and pictures of BobDylan, and you show me
that programme that Patti Smith had signed for you
not knowing you’d been applauding from the Underworld.

You make me laugh each time you tell the phone
it can get stuffed because it’s your mad mother
who will not believe that you’re not with us any more.

Your eyes grow bright in your dead woman’s face,
then sink, then glow like cigarettes, like the ironworks
up the coast, or the small lights on the cobles
tied up and tilted on the mud; like the strange flares
from the stack high up on Boulby Cliff, where the shaft
goes down a whole dark mile of ammonites, and heads off
far away beneath the weight of oil rigs, and sunken ships,
and shoals of cod, and all the grey North sea.