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A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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page 7  

Kirsten Cliff - New Zealand


Nightlight


Somehow I knew about them before I arrived in Japan. But I was beginning to realise it was the small ones that I should be wary of. The big ugly black ones, that you could clearly see inching along the roadside, were much too heavy to scurry up surfaces. The charming little red ones however, would suddenly appear on the wall behind the customer you were with. I would jerk and point, though only my fellow foreigners seemed to cringe at the shocking sight.

godless month . . .
I dream of riding a horse
into my childhood home,
all the family waiting
and expectant

We foreign girls started sleeping with the light on. It seemed the only solution. I was not going to lie in that top bunk with red cockroaches running around my head. Japan was not going to beat me. I needed the money, and anyway, I wanted to hide from real life for a while.

between snowfalls . . .
I wasn't meant to
find a love like this,
my slight resistance
not lost beneath languages




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