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in collection, Developing the Negative, 2008,

The Rialto, ISBN 978-0-9551273-3-5;

first published in Smiths Knoll no 41 2007


Yours Hopefully


       ĎTo travel hopefully is better than to arrive.í  R L Stevenson


Thereís not much news. I have been mulching

the fruit trees, dead-heading tulips.

Your sisterís grown two inches since you left.


Thanks for your text. I have posted you marmite, sunblock,

and plasters. The apple blossomís white as laundry

but doesnít last. Iím writing airmail to my younger self


who is travelling with you, but years before mobiles,

with a red frame rucksack, and hope, that is better than arrival,

scrawled on it in black felt tip. She slits the letters neatly


stares at the words, those inky, irrelevant gifts,

skims without reading, goes on without me. You text

cud u sendÖ? and goin 2 timbuktu and Iím afraid


of this arrival into another spring unpacking its green

in the same place, to find Iíve laid down compost,

planted tulips, stowed suitcases in the loft. Iím surprised


to find myself a source of marmite and small deceptions (grandfather

is not so well), to be the mother whose cooking you say

you miss. Under the red rucksackís load sheís off again, surviving


malaria and tropical storms with only The Grapes of Wrath

and a dented water bottle. I am trying to tell her, on thin blue paper,

exactly how the blossom falls, the tulip involutes. It will be a long letter.

It may never arrive.



Emily Wills


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collections - "Developing the Negative"
"Diverting the Sea", Rialto


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