Inventory. Books

When the removal men come, they use cotton gloves and masks for
the books.
“It’s the dust,” he shakes his head, like we were in Nagasaki instead
of Tooting.
Penguin classics, their black spines cracked with effort, slip in beside
Elmore Leonard.
It’s Boll to Cocteau in the next carton and a dog-eared frottage of
existentialists.
Elsewhere, Middle Earth meets middle class. Narnian queens spoon
Truman Capote.
Carver should have his own box but he’s joined by Tour Guides from
The Lonely Planet.
Aristotle, Hobbes and Locke nuzzle Jean Rhys smelling of church and
whisky bottles.
Thin, interesting pamphlets from the Poetry Book Fair jam between
Chekhov’s women
and fifteen Oxford Histories that remain impregnable as Dame Vera’s
bluebird cliffs.
All the damned verse cramps up in sizes so diverse they say it must be
flat-packed.
Then they’re gone – in their tottering truck with the boxes stacked in
sugar cubes.
Off to storage with the rest of us for an uncatalogued period of sorting
shit out
while our dust still grips the empty shelves like finger marks left on
a window ledge.

Published in the 2017 Live Canon Anthology

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