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Mum was diagnosed with cancer in the early summer of 1998, she died the following March 1999; I couldn’t get up to London to see her regularly so I started a correspondence; sixteen years later I realise that our correspondence didn’t just stop with her death, the same as our life together didn’t: our life together was always the response between the words and events …




                Dear Mum,

                it was good to read from you
                in this new write of relationship
                although the tiredness in your word
                was obvious when it came:

                so you might expect a remission
                for weeks or years or not, which
                certainly sharpens a life, and with no
                dependents to consider anymore

                preparing ready for the time
                more-clear-now to come, the better
                to put your life into its order,
                is it God calling you now?

                I know you have your congregation
                around you (even if it is too much at times)
                how families ebb and go in peoples’ lives
                only sometimes built around the tree

                we four were close for a while forming the
                parts of each others’ lives; it took a long time to
                emerge, even after university, even after
                Nan died, even as my own family grew,

                I was still with us in Genesta Road; and yet
                there you are, all through the chemo, I see
                you adjust your life talking of ‘excess
                baggage’ – I was happy to take possession

                of the photographs: of you working at the
                office seeing those goods in and out, those
                huge ships like family, with their chapter
                and verse, those endless invoices in triplicate

                smell of typewriter ribbon, the bad air-conditioning
                the silly young office workers testing up their futures
                your giggly exchanges with them, all part of that endless work
                up and down the River through endless years like a grate

                take care, much love,





part of the ongoing life and page of … Mum
death & family & love & Mum & Nan & reading wormhole: letters to Mum I – a walk / and talk
Genesta Road wormhole: still there?
identity wormhole: ‘n’
letting go wormhole: I will eventually drift tectonic
life & time wormhole: tag cloud poem VI – anyone’s eyes
Thames wormhole: still there // above the / Dallin Road / allotments / looking high over the river and the city
university wormhole: … thank you
words wormhole: words
work wormhole: the chiropodist