Poem: Dictation by Susan Utting


It is the after-lunch, the p.m. dip, the bellyful of
three more hours to go against the bodyclock
that wants to slow itself, to droop its lids, to drift.

And she’s not listening to a word he says, she’s
hearing him in light and shade, in curves and dashes,
a tick, a hook, the beautiful economy of short-forms.

She’s ahead of him, more words per minute than his
voice can rattle while she dozes and her pencil runs
the page on tiptoe, hushing with its light and lighter still.

She’s on automatic, sleepy mistress of the air, translating
waves to codes that he cannot decipher – she hasn’t listened
to a word and still she has it all verbatim; sound for sound

she reads him back, astonished at the words her own
voice makes, at what he’s told, at what she’s telling him.

Editor’s note:
This poem was shortlisted for The Bridport Poetry Prize

This poem appear’s in the collection Fair’s Fair by Susan Utting.