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‘It’s gone.’

‘What has?’

‘It. This. Everything.’

‘The chair is still here. I’m still here.’

‘I don’t mean the chair. I mean it, it.’

‘You’ve lost me.’

‘That’s not hard.’

‘Try me.’

‘I mean, I mean it’s gone. I really think it’s gone from me this time.’ I pause and look at the book  for a moment. ‘The poetry. I’m talking about the poetry.’

The’ poetry? Why not just say ‘poetry’?’

‘OK. Poetry. I think poetry has left me.’

‘But you don’t really think that, do you, not really, not deep down, not here.’ The book spreads its hand across its stomach, which I notice has become rather swollen.

‘No.’

‘Well, then. Stop complaining. A poem on my desk, by seven tomorrow morning.’

‘But I can’t.’

‘Yes you can.’

‘I can’t.’

‘You can.’

‘Can’t.’

‘You can,’ says the book. ‘And you will.’