The Paper Tree

I thrash from a sea bed to the surface, breathe,
backstroke through dreams. Last night –
Oxford. Jericho, cafes lit

in the afternoon. A panini, an Americano,
and I’m in every cafe where I talked with him
from here to Rosapenna.                 

The years flicker – notebook pages turn –
the story sleeps. I dig into my bag
for scissors, shred and quill paper. A tree rises

from the pages’ heart: its branches frayed. 
The table is scattered with paper remnants –
the book won’t close:

I hug it to me, leave
         and wander through crisp air. The tree
in my arms as my boots echo

I am with him again –
late at night in a cellar bar,
drinking till we fall.

First published in Prole