Stop. Think about home.
That place you come from.
That place you’re looking for.
Go there now.
No one is watching.
Slip quietly away,
into streets or gardens,
or hills smothered by snow.
There will be people you don’t recognise,
faces you don’t know,
but don’t worry.
They are here to be with you.
They came, following through the cracks in your memory
and the doors in the backs of photographs,
to meet your eyes
Eat, drink, laugh – but softly;
the walls of home are thin. Rest.
It may come slowly, but it will come.
It will, and friends will reassure you.
You will be safe here.
you will have to leave this place,
taking nothing with you,
and trudge the road to here and now,
groan and wake
to the present.
Remember, though, this place.
When next you need to slip away
it will be here. Always.
In The Children’s Section
You won’t realise what has happened until you wake up.
Which will probably be with a gasp and jerk. A loud snort.
I can’t stand the suspense. I know what’s going to happen
and I’m waiting on the edge of my seat for you to slip off your’s.
Where’s that kid you came with? Does she like you, or is it painful
to have to pay this favour for a friend? That’s why you’re sleeping
isn’t it? It must be tiring to worry about someone that doesn’t trust you.
I wonder, would you hear me if I guessed your name and shouted it
across the room? Of course you would, but you’d hear it from the mouth
of someone in the dream with you. Everyone here knows nothing exists
outside the dream you don’t know you’re having. That sofa doesn’t.
Your friend’s kid doesn’t. This children’s section you fell asleep in certainly
doesn’t. But it feels like I do. Are you awake and pretending?
I don’t remember arriving here. How long have I been watching?
Is this all I’ve ever done? Watch you. Wait for you to realise you are asleep.
All at once, on all six library floors nobody needs to turn their page.
Or scratch their nose, or cough, or breathe. Whatever I do now, I mustn’t call
your name. I mustn’t make a single sound or disturb you in any way.