‘What else are you guilty about?’

‘Most things,’ I say. ‘It doesn’t stop with poetry, you know. Or those unread novels. I think it follows me around sometimes, like disappointment in that Billy Collins poem.’

‘Are you depressed?’ says the book.

‘Don’t think so.’

‘You need to take care of yourself,’ the book says. ‘Get out more. Get walking again.’

‘Swimming, you mean.’

‘Is it important for you to always be right?’

‘It might be. Depends who I’m with. Mostly I keep my own counsel.’

‘Could have fooled me,’ says the book.

There is a silence.

‘Maybe,’ I say at last. ‘Maybe I am a bit, you know, under the weather.’

‘Still afraid of saying it?’ says the book.

‘Always,’ I say.

‘Depressed, guilty, and always needing to be right. It’s not a good combination is it?’

‘Mostly I want sleep. And the ocean. And a new notebook.’

‘Can I pray for you?’

‘I’d rather you didn’t,’ I say. ‘Not publicly anyway.’

‘Privately, then.’

‘If you must.’

‘Right then.’

‘Right.’

‘Right. Oh God.’