No Disposals


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Fiona Kidman

Like Everyone Who Likes to Read Books

I wanted to work in a bookshop to be close
to the heart of the matter, all those outward
spines hiding romance and blood-curdling
terror and chilling moments I wanted
to stay at home and be on the road all
at once between the covers leaf
after falling leaf of words I wanted to know
what they told me the minute
the author had written them down
their newness a prize but how could I release
them into the hands of others, that’s what librarians
do and for the time that is what I did
instead, standing at the library counter
giving the books over taking them back
until I found my own words and wrote them down.

Photo: Robert Cross

Fiona Kidman writes novels, memoir and poetry. Her latest novel, This Mortal Boy, won the Acorn Fiction Prize in 2018. She has been awarded a DNZM, OBE and the French Legion of Honour. This poem is from Where your left hand rests (Godwit, 2010)—with thanks.