John Greening


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Shops that only pop up in your dreams

are not unlike the ones you visit

awake, except that what you buy then

vanishes in the blink of an eye.

In my case, it’s never anything

practical but always some obscure

edition of verse or a record

salvaged from the Soviet archives

and much of the delight’s in finding

the shop itself, a shop that appears

to be managed by sleep, yet exists

along an everyday labyrinth

part-shopping mall, part-walk-in monkish

illumination. It feels somewhere

I’d like to be in the afterlife —

an old, darkly-panelled, cigarette-

haunted, quiet centre of browsing,

whose stairs twist out of sight above shelves

laden with poetry, some of which

I feel sure I must have bought before.