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.


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