Second Prize: Natalie Crick, 'Girlfriend-Watch'

Second Prize: Natalie Crick,


Natalie Crick’s poem ‘Girlfriend-Watch’ has won Second Prize in the 2020 Newcastle Poetry Competition.




Poorly Girlfriend sleeps like a parched stone.

Boyfriend watches her instead of television.

Boyfriend watches when light slats

dangerously expose her black eyes to him.

His hand is a quill; the crow feather a flutter to ease

out her bad, the nib a point stroking her cheeks.

Boyfriend makes up Girlfriend’s face

with motes of ash from his fingers.

Her face is lengthening, looking up.

To Boyfriend she seems Unsafe. Undelicate.


He plays love with her,

plays fetch, plays harm.

He likes her to suck his fingers,

He likes her to smile, always.


Boyfriend likes to use the biggest knife

to slice Girlfriend’s strawberries, likes to see

the red of them against the lap of white at her throat.

Boyfriend confesses how much he loves Girlfriend

to the mirror. He whispers the names of the others

he loves, but can never change the channel on the remote.

Boyfriend watches Girlfriend instead of television.

He turns the ceiling light on and off to see just what she will do,

lights up the room bright to check she is still breathing.

Off and On.


Natalie Crick (Newcastle) has poems published in Poetry Salzburg Review, The Moth, Banshee and elsewhere. She is studying for an MPhil (Creative Writing) at Newcastle University.  Natalie’s poetry was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020. She is a creative practitioner in residence at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University.