Vanessa, my friend, has a Christmas tradition
that is just great. Every year,
a nativity photo is staged, with her
as the Virgin Mary. She’s fifty-eight.
This year, she’s in a bubble with her mother and daughter.
Although he’s a teen, her son usually plays baby Jesus.
Last year, they held his arms and legs and laid him
across the centre of the scene. But now,
somehow, Vanessa will replace him, as the neonate.
Her mum will be Mary, and her daughter will immortalise
the moment. In our international family, we have yet to create
traditions. You, Japanese, bring no presents
to the tree, which stands lopsidedly
because you would not fork out for a decent Spruce
from the piney cabins near our house
with the masked attendant Elves.
And when I’m cooking the turkey that only I want to eat,
because you prefer a blander cut of meat, I listen to Angel
Olsen and her orchestra belt out: I’m telling all the lies
and realise that our kitchen door creaks open, always.
No matter how hard I try to manipulate
the golden handle. And I’ve been telling you
for years now that it is not hung properly:
that whatever I do, I can’t get it to sit in its ill-fitting
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Alexandra
Corrin-Tachebana would be pleased to hear them.