Fighting Fantasies

They were books with a difference,
books in which you became the hero.
You decided which paths to take,
which dangers to risk, which beasts to fight.

I spent most of my adolescence in them

pulled pages around me so I was hidden
in paragraphs and pictures;
the only decisions I liked to make
were within those paper mazes.

And between adventures I picked sore spots,
didn’t fit anywhere else
so the potion of invisibility worked.

The warlock had many spells,
the snow witch had a lethal beauty
and the shape-changer sent me blindly
to a death page.

At least I could start all over again.

Barry Woods

This poem was shortlisted for The Poems Please Me Prize 2015. Barry also had a poem Commended: Toy Train.

Barry Woods studied creative writing with the Writers’ Bureau, Manchester, and has since had work published in the small press. He moved on to explore performance with the Dead Good Poets Society, Liverpool. He lives and works in Birkenhead.