Two Poems

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    Puberty

    1

    In the bathroom to scold you, I find
    an odalisque, my daughter
    blurred by humidity, a moist-blind
    mirror, perfumed water.
    Reading in the tub you seem
    overnight older and, me, I’m dumb struck,
    irritation gone into steam.

    2

    Which recalls for me your look,
    you saying ‘Dad, I’m not the Devil!’
    only a day or two before.
    It’s true and, me, I’m lost for words,
    intimidated, still,
    by a woman, neither devil nor
    your daddy’s little girl.

     

     

    All Times Are Local

    1

    Undaunting, your thousand-piece jigsaw
    shows a projection of all the world
    and, done, it lies still on that table
    like a reconstruction —
    a reconstruction of our moments
    separated by left times and spaces
    put together here.

    2

    Though not far from Greenwich now
    or Brunel’s brick-arched bridge,
    this gazing through your bedroom window
    brings it back to mind —
    the dusks on near or gone horizons
    and his first Great Western
    instituting railway-time.

    3

    So it’s about your own time too
    and family resemblances
    shifted by walls of chronometer dials,
    each one dependent on further place-names
    through transit lounge to boarding gate.
    You’ve reassembled all of that
    imagining returns to Sendai,
    your nostalgia for Japan.