The smallest bone in the human ear
weighs no more than a grain of rice.
She keeps thinking it means something
but probably is nothing.
Something’s lost, she craves it
hunting in pockets, sleeves,
checks the eyelets in fabric.
Could you confirm you were his sister?
When they pass her his rimless glasses,
they’re tucked into a padded sleeve;
several signatures later,
his rucksack is in her hands
(without the perishables),
lighter than she had imagined.
[From Small Hands (Liverpool University Press), which has been shortlisted for best first collection at this year’s Forward Prizes.]