Science  Write  Now

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 First published in A coat of ashes (Recent Work Press 2019).


What will be lost

The curved white chairs at round white tables

The white benchtops whose ends bend around to be legs

The pillar labelled Information, ringed with screens

The ebooks and online journals

The paywalls


The woman who issues from a glass-walled room

Her bright blue lanyard, her freckled collarbone

The ancient lift that takes me to the stacks and back

The red scanline of the self-check machine

The clunk as it unlocks my book


The coffee dregs in a cardboard cup

The puzzle of which bin it goes in

The perspex security scanners

The golden loops inside them, their invisible intangible field

The doorway named after someone

The idea that everything that counts may be found here

What has been lost

The card catalogues in their dark wooden drawers

The brass frames around the drawer labels

The librarians behind their counters

The counters


The thick china rims of the cheap stackable mugs

The cafe ceiling with its dangling teabag tags

The idea that you might throw a teabag

The idea that your teabag might stick


The photocopier room

The change machine

The papery rustle of the Science Citation Index

The sense that, somehow, everything was here

What was lost

A wetland


A hunting ground


Many black swans


A thousand chanted centuries


An infinite number of spirits


A pattern of rainfall


The names of stars and stones


The knowledge that everything was here


Feature image by John R. Snow