One afternoon

Around half past two

A young policeman,


In blue

Entered my shop

He took me aside

Which was strange

We were alone

Then he showed me the receipt

Handwritten and damp

In the polythene bag

Franked with my own stamp

A paltry book order

Placed that day

I remembered the customer

With growing dismay

Small with fine hands

With long gold-brown hair

Bookish but flirty

When no one was there

“Did you know the lady?”

And “How was she dressed?”

“What was her name?”

Do you have her address?

“Did you notice anything strange?”

I had to say yes

She was edgy and tired!

And I’d heard, in the café

Just recently fired

My best customer!

For over a year

She came every week

Shy and quite nervous

She would stand in the rain

When I had customers

He closed his black book

And made his excuses

The Coroner would be in touch

He was sure

Then he left me

As the shop and the high street


In my tears

My best customer!

Had stepped off the platform

And caught the train

That since December

Doesn’t stop there

Later I looked at the records

The orders she’d made

Searching for reasons

In her reading

And seeing them all

For the first time!

As her nightmare

Became mine

“Sex and The Single Girl”

“How To Attract Your Ideal Mate”

“The Best Sex You’ll Ever Have”

“How To Get and Keep a Good Man”

“Sinful Sex”

“Undoing Depression”

“The Five Love Languages”

“Depression: The way Out of Your Prison”

“The Suicidal Mind”

And the last

Which came the next day

Ordered for me

I'd like to think

In tenderness

To read

In my



In my stupidity

In my Myopic


And in my misery

“No Time To Say Goodbye”

(Surviving the Suicide of A loved One)

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