The Sacred Heart sister at Sophia

Posts me an airmail letter

With two sought-after stamps

For her twelve year-old collector.

Much later, on cassette,

She talks of doing a doctorate

On etiquette in Edo,

Plus a traveller’s guide for the Gaijin.

The millennium hosts its moment;

A tsunami coasts toward Christmas.

She tells me on the telephone

Of an essay on Shusako Endo,

The convert Catholic novelist,

His link an east-west ligature

And a job for her jubilee year.

Call and response continue

From the ’64 Olympics

To the karaoke bar

She runs with an Irish Jesuit

For mystical male alcoholics.

She has left stone fields in Ireland

For moss in a rock garden,

And the Celtic cross of her convent

For gravel curated in circles.

Now her cancer of the pancreas

Is assigned a last text-message

In the three moonlit lines

Of a Meiji death haiku.