When I agreed to be the fiction judge for the SlingInk Slam, I suggested to the powers that be there (ie the lovely and dedicated Kirsty) that the winners of each round (there are six of them) could be published here on my blog (you can see them here and here). While I’ve been judging the fiction side of things, Mandy Pannet has looked after the poetry entries and I’m delighted to be able to post one of the winning poems here. Enjoy!
Englewood – February 13 1935
All of us sat down to dinner
having to eat with the verdict
expected at any minute.
Charles hoarse with a heavy cold.
Wirelesses in pantry and dining room
relay to us their jazz and jokes.
Every ear strains to hear
the announcement from the courtroom.
Mrs Morrow produces photographs in the library.
How dutiful and like a geisha she is,
shy, clever, gentle, distressed
but focussed on the task of selecting illustrations.
We discuss her father for twenty minutes.
The maid’s head appears round the ornate Coromandel screen.
“Hauptmann has been condemned to death without mercy.”
The wireless brings diabolical yells
from outside the courtroom. ‘A lynching crowd”
says Lindbergh softly.
“Turn it off, Charles, turn that off.”
Anne Morrow hands us ginger beer.
Her husband red about the nose.
As he sits on the kitchen dresser
he explains, his dread they would get
someone about whom he was not sure.
Of Hauptmann there can be no doubt.
A magnificent man, splendidly built
but ‘his eyes, Mr Nicolson, were shifty, mean and cruel’.
Anne still white and frozen.
Their guard dog, Thor follows her with his eyes
comes to lay his huge head in her lap. She sighs.