Lines Off

A new poem by Hugo Williams.

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I don’t know whether to make
the difficult right-hand descent
by way of a crooked stair
with its missing steps
and multiple overhangs
and risk arriving late,
or take the vertiginous plunge
down the left-hand margin
and arrive ahead of myself.

I’d rather take the lift,
but where is it located
in this godforsaken building?
I can’t make my entrance
suspended in mid-air, groping blindly
for non-existent bannisters.
I feel like turning back,
but it’s too late for that now.
I’m going to have to jump.

Hugo Williams won the TS Eliot Prize in 1999 for Billy’s Rain. His new collection Lines Off is published by Faber & Faber.

This article appears in the 31 May 2019 issue of the New Statesman, Theresa May’s toxic legacy