Second prize in our Members’ Competition this year was awarded to Kent-based poet Jess Mookherjee for Snow Monkey Goes to Heaven.
Snow Monkey Goes to Heaven
On the bullet train to Kurukawa
Onsen, we take a bag, a map of the lines
on your hand, an axe, a shrunken head.
I follow you, frost- bitten, try to hold you,
Don’t touch, it hurts all over, you say
and the chill’s unwritten on my fingers,
I keep them moving and our plans on ice.
I try to read your face, it’s a tangled hell
in stone cold kanji. I lose you round
the corner of my eye. You chant it’s summer
and we’re just sitting, spending time
with each-other. You mumble It’s OK,
we’ll change together, when we catch
our connection at Minami. My skin’s off-peak,
out of season and you stop shivering.
I take an ice pick, break you open,
say don’t fall asleep, we’re going to make it.
My teeth glass-chatter as I kneel, watch you
burst, the cracks are lotus shaped.
Scents will take us as we melt in Kurukawa.
It’s too cold to talk any more and our journey
widens in a shatter of heated springs.
You turn blue as we stop at Minami,
and whisper This Heaven is such a simple thing.