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All The Things You Are Not Yet

Written by: Helen Dunmore | Biography
 for tess

Tonight there's a crowd in my head:
all the things you are not yet.
You are words without paper, pages sighing in summer forests, gardens where builders stub out their rubble and plastic oozes its sweat.
All the things you are, you are not yet.
Not yet the lonely window in midwinter with the whine of tea on an empty stomach, not yet the heating you can't afford and must wait for, tamping a coin in on each hour.
Not the gorgeous shush of restaurant doors and their interiors, always so much smaller.
Not the smell of the newsprint, the blur on your fingertips — your fame.
Not yet the love you will have for Winter Pearmains and Chanel No 5 — and then your being unable to buy both washing-machine and computer when your baby's due to be born, and my voice saying, "I'll get you one" and you frowning, frowning at walls and surfaces which are not mine — all this, not yet.
Give me your hand, that small one without a mark of work on it, the one that's strange to the washing-up bowl and doesn't know Fairy Liquid for whiskey.
Not yet the moment of your arrival in taxis at daring destinations, or your being alone at stations with the skirts of your fashionable clothes flapping and no money for the telephone.
Not yet the moment when I can give you nothing so well-folded it fits in an envelope — a dull letter you won't reread.
Not yet the moment of your assimilation in that river flowing westward: rivers of clothes, of dreams, an accent unlike my own saying to someone I don't know: darling.
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