From Asia



You send me a picture from Asia.
Shuddering and towelled in a hotel room,
the bath fills softly behind
as you pause for breath in the mirror,
slide your glasses away.
Take a photograph in the glass.

Not a duty-free smoke but a biro
propped in your tired hand,
words and wine and water,
rippled folds
are a second skin.
Your words go on for hours.

Drifting off, I may think of you,
coiled in a Chinese dream
in a borrowed bed, seven hours ahead
as I wake the next morning to cherry-skies
and find it at my bedside, a poem—
a page full of you.

In return, I could answer in stanzas:
slip this paper across time-zones.
Neon scorched on your glasses
you frown over coffee and street-maps
and waving, ask for directions.
Like a pearl or a family secret,
hiraeth rolls from your tongue.


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