I let myself in, quiet as a thief, with my own key.
In the Emporium I unpack my bag of silence,
Set up my echoes either side of myself
Like speakers, carefully adjusting woof and tweet
So as to make my own voice lovely, even out my breathing
Into a pleasing meditative wheeze.
Hereís where I come to find my own lost past;
Here at my elbow, in a cup of English Breakfast
I dip digestives with consummate skill
Born of long practice. I am alone with books.
Iím real and they are real. Only the place is fake.
No sweet smell of degenerating paper,
None of the holy feel of the real thing,
But I have spliced in the odd grunt of high reaching
And the creak of imaginary floorboards.
Hereís where I come to drink mandragora
When the damp of hell is making my bones ache,
My own voice irks me and I think of ways
To edit out the breathing altogether.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Ann Drysdale would be
pleased to hear them.