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Forty-ninth day
For my grandfather, Mitsuyoshi Shokoku
By Erica Hesketh


mouse /


cosy together

at the table reciting

nē ushi tora…


ox /


Ozeki One Cup

one minute in the microwave

another new year


tiger /


shoe horn on its hook

forty years at the same firm

sense of self


rabbit /


today’s mission

anything with SMAP on the cover

flowers by her bed


dragon /


hazy spring morning

tremors shake him onto the street

magnitude 9


snake /


he’s getting us confused

the windows need replacing

once or in a dream


horse /


in a silvered past

he bears his brother’s weight

all the way to school


sheep /


an old pupil

rises to pay his respects

blushing in a dark suit


monkey /


in stockinged feet

we kneel on fresh tatami

enveloped by gongs


bird /


forty-ninth day

the summer breeze lifts him up, up

no need for dry bones


dog /


that day he waited

for us at Tokyo Station

so long


boar /


your platform ticket

ran out ages ago opapa-chan –

we’ll be a while yet

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