One Poem by Emilie Collyer




They look so sharp, the four brothers. You could cut your finger

on the folds of those cuffs.


Four boys, can you imagine that? Adored by their mother, what a stern father,

at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe.


This is not a smiling photograph, only one of them – the youngest

– looks at the camera. They are out of time. This is the 1970s.


They look like extras from an early Hitchcock film. Look at his

hands, the artist, such long fingers. He is holding the baby, this photo


is a memento from a christening day. And what became of them?

Does it matter? There were failings, shall I list them? Shadows that fell,


resentments that bruised, solemn men with long faces seen

through the eyes of a child.


Talk instead about the cellar   jars of pickled plums

the rambling garden   pathways for hiding   gnarled trees for climbing


a swinging rope over an empty dam   hush of thick carpet

polished silver gleaming   the creak and bang of the wire screen door.


In fact let’s not speak at all, just look at the photograph.

Four brothers on a couch   slicked hair and jaunty limbs.


Is it the time of day, the old Kodak print or my imagination –

what do you think, doesn’t the light look golden?




About the contributor

Emilie Collyer
Emilie Collyer lives in Australia on Wurundjeri country, where she writes poetry, plays and prose. Her writing has appeared most recently in Rabbit, Australian Poetry Journal, Witness Performance and Cordite. Award-winning plays include ‘Contest’, ‘Dream Home’ and ‘The Good Girl’. Emilie is a PhD candidate in creative writing at RMIT.

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