heavy rain –

shaded by cherry blossoms

I wait


Kobayashi Issa



He’s waiting in the garden by the cherry tree

he planted, taking shelter from the rain beneath

its blossom-heavy boughs. White gravel fans around

his feet like ripples on the surface of a pond.


He smiles. A drop of water trickles down his neck.

I trace the snaking path it follows with my tongue,

breathe in his musky sweat, and feel the throb of blood

beneath his suntanned skin. His hands grip tightly round


my shoulders; ease me back. While raindrops cool my cheeks

his tongue inflames my lips, my breasts, my inner thighs.

I gasp and welcome in the hot, hard feel of him.

Somewhere a temple bell is ringing. So am I.


And later, as I hurry home, rehearsing my

excuses, tying up my obi sash, for just

a moment I look back. He stoops and once again

begins to rake the gravel into perfect arcs.


© Helen Lewis 2006

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