It might be useful. I might

forget to be terrified of dogs

not bolt, sour-mouthed with fear,

when next door’s alsatian lunges

at the gate. I’d call him good boy,

meaning it, lean in to scratch his ear.


It might be magical, books I know

by heart growing mysterious as

unopened gifts. And if I can’t recall

disliking thrillers, science fiction,

will I tumble into marvels when

I forget what I prefer and read them all?


What if I forget my fear of flying,

catch the headiness of airports, wine

before breakfast, forgetting I disapprove?

What if, decanted into Barcelona, I chat

to everyone, savour paella, forgetting

I don’t speak Spanish, don’t like foreign food?


It might be extraordinary,

a second chance.

Imagine leaping up joyously

every time the music started

having forgotten to care what people think

having forgotten I don’t know how to dance.


Annette Iles