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I had begun the poem after work one day, on a pad of work-related notes. Get in, get out, I thought, before they come to get you, before you are found out. Not much of a poem, and not much of a start, but a start nevertheless. I almost never remember anything about writing poems. This one was slightly different, in that I knew I was saying something I ‘shouldn’t’, which other people might not like. For its tone. Maybe its content. It was not (is not) a nice poem. Which is why I knew I needed to begin writing it, to see where that not-niceness might take me. I did and did not like writing it. And then life and work intervened and I forgot all about the poem until the other day when the content -that’s not the right word- I mean the tone of the poem entered my head again while I was washing up or looking up a reference or something. A kind of hissy, quite-pleased with itself tone, a tone taking pleasure in not being very cuddly. And I knew I had to go back to it, right there, and finish the job off, while that tone was still in my head and before they came to get me. But no. The poem was not there. Not in the meticulously-kept filing system (ahem) of my drafts folder, not in the maybe-this-is-a-pile-of-crap-drafts folder (which is really just a lot of scribble on the backs of envelopes, nor even in the (ahem) filing system (ahem) of the pile on my desk (ahem). Where was it? A frantic, on-off, three-day search ensued. The poem was nowhere to be seen. I began to consider the possibility that I had hallucinated writing the poem. I had forgotten everything about it, except for that tone. And that I had used squared paper to write it on. It dawned on me that I had made the schoolboy error of letting the poem know I was interested in it. A terrible mistake, like doing photocopying in a hurry. The machine will always see you coming. A new search began. Not for the poem, but the pad. I found it in three minutes. Right there in front of me all along, in a pile on the desk. Where I had already looked. The lost poem.

 

I still have not finished it. I may need to forget all about it, or lose it again, before this can happen.