Two Poems





    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.


    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


    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.


    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.


    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.