Tamiko Dooley

Tamiko studied Latin & French at New College, Oxford. She is raising two young children in England. When there’s no pandemic, she’s hired as a wedding pianist from time to time.


You ask why it took me so long to drive
Why I’m still scared to do a three-point turn
Won’t push seventy on the motorway
Or enter a multi-storey car park.
When I passed my test on the fifteenth go
It felt like a miracle from above.
We laugh that you stopped buying good luck cards
After a decade of cardboard wasted.
I don’t say that the grey-haired instructor
Would place his hand on mine when changing gear
And told me to flash my ‘pretty smile’ at
Other drivers, when I was seventeen.
He’s just being friendly, you would have said,
Don’t be so sensitive.


Rice didn’t grow in the valley that year:
Negative energy gathered in the nook of the Japanese Alps 
So the minister told them, at the conference.
Kami-san, the gods, were unhappy, he’d said.

The villagers struggled, but what could you do.
They’d beg for more rain at the temple.

In the distance, water trickled down another mountain;
A new path down to the hydro dam,
Lining the pockets of those in charge
As quietly as the prayers whispered on bended knee.

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