The books that took me from home
are carrying me back –
back to my Arctic bedroom
and the shelves where they were stacked.
I’m pressed inside them like a flower
or an earwig that got trapped.
My sister’s crying next door.
There’s smoke from my dad’s wooden pipe.
The spines are unbroken
and the covers free of dust.
I’m stuck there like a specimen.
It’s not yet me. It’s not yet us.
Blake Morrison is a poet and author, and a professor of creative writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His most recent book is the novel “The Executor” (Chatto & Windus).
This article appears in the 28 Oct 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The Great Reckoning