Last year’s today pops up in my timeline

with a look of reproach, though in truth, I’m

smiling with the gormless happiness of a man out

on the town, completely without self-awareness,

which is what I’m gifted like a shard of ice

to the gut a year later when the photo pops up.

This is what I get when I stare in the mirror

lately: the distinct impression that the other

bloke is not impressed, but is keeping it to

himself, biding his time, playing his cards close

to his chest. The white noise of Tokyo traffic

tides past my hotel window, while I try to capture

big and desperate feelings with chatty messages

home and love hearts and receive terse updates

pinged back from the other side of the world and

the stiff gangle of my son’s Formal photos,

all red embarrassment, acne and the look

of someone walking into uncertainty or their

own execution, which is the same thing, and

I realise I have no shots of you, to pop up at

random on my phone and trouble my conscience.

This is the business traveller’s lament, perched

on crisp turn-down, high and frothy as the foam

on a Sapporo, watching the exuberant slapstick

of a foreign aesthetic. All I have for a poem is

gnomic cleverness punched out of my head like a

subway train ticket: it’s easier to take someone for

granted when they’re in front of you. If you’re

not sure who’s at fault, it’s probably you.

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