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