Lost, or leaving
by Charlotte Barnes

I misplaced you, only once. Convinced myself that you were
buried inside my book-bag, as usual, until I found your spot
empty. Pen at the ready; notebook, absent. Missing in action;
kidnapped. Snatched before I had time to copy out my ideas,
my Pulitzer-Prize-winning sentences, I convinced myself,
had been stolen by someone who knew their worth.
I searched, called friends, telephoned the police and logged
an official missing persons enquiry: “Yes, black moleskin,”
I said, when they asked for a detailed description of you.
“Off-white pages and on the inside you’ll find my heart.”
Before they could start their searches I found you myself,
hidden beneath my desk in a bag that I rarely used —
I have since wondered whether you were trying to escape.

IMAGE: The author at a recent reading.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt worked brilliantly to throw me back to the incident discussed in my piece. I distinctly remember calling my flatmate at the time, in the early hours of the morning, to beg and plead for some insights on when she had last seen me with my notebook. I cannot recall putting it in a different place to where it usually lived; however, using this prompt has given me a new perspective on this — that the notebook may have been trying to escape me, after all — and for that I am grateful. More grateful, of course, that I eventually found the missing notebook — and still quietly optimistic that one day the Pulitzer will arrive (albeit perhaps not for anything that my younger self wrote in that book).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlotte Barnes is a Worcester (UK) based writer and poet who is currently working towards her Doctorate degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. While Charlotte’s academic endeavours have seen much of her focus rest on writing prose, she is now working to nurture her poetry alongside this, both on the page and on the stage, in her efforts towards performance poetry. Charlotte’s general interests are tea-drinking, cake-eating, and book-reading.