Emma Neale


For Poppy Haynes

I know some

can’t stand

the ampersand

yet when I see 

its curled strand

I remember cellos, 

a cellist & the small 

upflick flourish 

of a finale bow stroke 

& the way the coiled thread

mirrors a G-clef’s slopes 

so now & then

I try its loose slipknot 

which seems to tie

a contented, ready 

tone to the page:

a little like the note

you’d hear play

when a young 

cellist’s mother

bends above 

a borrowed pair

of shiny, lace-up

recital shoes

while she hums

first we do

this loop

then we do

this one too

Emma Neale Author shot by Caroline Davies.jpeg



Photo by Caroline Davies


Emma Neale is the author of six novels and six poetry collections. She received the Lauris Edmond Memorial Award for a Distinguished Contribution to New Zealand Poetry 2020. Her most recent novel, Billy Bird (2016) was short-listed for the Acorn Prize at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards and long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. Her first collection of short stories, The Pink Jumpsuit, has just been released by Quentin Wilson Publishing in 2021. She lives in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, where she works as an editor. ‘&’ was first published by The Listener, a literary magazine in New Zealand, and appears here with permission.