The judges felt that Janice Laidlaw’s poem, ‘Wipe-out’, placed fourth, offered a stunning evocation of traumatic experience. With its evocative, sensual imagery, subtle use of sound patterns, and imaginative form, the poem ends ambiguously, having provided a powerful window into the subject’s experience, but leaving the reader unsure as to whether that subject will be able to move on from the incidents portrayed in the poem.
She shrinks in time - childhood minuteness: cracked hollow of a grain of wheat.
Grits, whimpers, cringes away from shadow-circled glass eyes prying.
While they eat harsh ruts of giddied blood are drying....
Sucked shrivelling-in of skin-sense: she squats tight, oblivious, battered case hangs, swinging.
and when being as small as possible comes to an end, elasticity shapes to fit the gap between your head, your fists, your needs, your private bits.
Acrid verses bellow in the parched air - the steeple-church is grimly chiming; and she is parched too: she spins, stilted blinks wave in the grass. Stings as she lies.
It hurts, she is tiny, insects thunder by......
She is far away; far, far away.
And nothing is wrong because she won't ever let herself remember this day.