Poetry Corner

Coming home

Illustration by Suzy Varty
My sister tells me I needn’t speak slowly
and make exaggerated movements.
I wait for the Sainsbury’s cashier
to pack my bags, like in Fujiya,
for taxi doors to open for me.
I miss the driver’s white gloves.
The trains are grubby and I crave
cold Asahi Super Dry from the trolley
with the pink-suited bowing lady
and the eel obento boxes.
The sushi sucks and I can only find
California rolls, salmon or tuna,
but not my favourite, oily engawa:
the tail fin muscle of a flatfish.
I miss miso soup for a hangover
and I miss the word for a hangover:
futsukayoi (second day drunkenness).
I miss what I once heard as jibberish,
on the phone a high-pitched
moshi moshi: Hello; ladies giggling
at men, with their hands over mouths,
and all the other at first annoying things,
right down to the smell
of the fading tatami.

Alex Corrin-Tachibana

First published in Tears in the Fence, Autumn 2020

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