are the beloved books I’ve shelved
so shyly; colour-coded by
creative energy, with bindings of beauty.

I’m in awe
of your assorted selves
upon the shelf. You don’t pretend to be
hard cover copies; you
are unabridged
art forms
standing at peace
with your
paper backs.

How was I so lucky, to pick
 you up in
corners of The Clare?

Through a smoky haze, I saw you
stacked in
upturned crates; your covers
coffee-stained and your
stories sweet with cider.

You let me
sink with you
couched possibilities.

Your text tattooed
my skin.

Historical, poetry,
classics and fantasy; you are
all of these categories.

 If I flipped through pages of
 our history, I’d feel no
roughened path of
past mistakes beneath
my searching fingertips; just
smooth blank verse
by narrative design, because
our past is the prologue for

So when your stories send you to
Mexico, Spain and Germany, I’ll slip
your volumes into
my backpack and
carry you
with me
along the dreary streets of
I’ll carry you with me and
this heaviness will be


By Sarah Mckenzie


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