Books Read

In this recycled Oxfam notebook
you recorded seven years’ reading;
listing over 200 titles in your bold scribble
with stars against your favourites:
Monica Ali’s Brick Lane,
Andrea Levy’s Small Island
Marina Lewycka’s Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hussain
The Road Home by Rose Tremain
and shelves of others.
If there was a Booker Prize for reading
You would have been a strong contender.

As your illness took hold,
you made your last entries with a shaky hand:
Aunt Julia
and the Scriptwriter by
Maria Vargas Llosa,
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton;
by October we were reading to you
as you lay in the NHS cot in our bedroom:
Adrian Mole
’ The Prostrate Years by
Sue Townsend,
Keeping The
World Away by Margaret

Now the armchair
in which you read
is empty.
But your books remain on the shelves,
waiting for me to catch up with you.