LADY IN THE SNOW, BY KUNIYASU (by John Burnside)

A prostitute, in fact.
We know this
by the rush mat under her arm and by the way
her sash is tied.

The snow has been falling all day
in thick
slow waves
filling the gaps between the young bamboos
blurring the lantern light behind her with a scuffed
white fur.

She must be cold:
she is shielding her face from the wind
and her feet are naked in the high
wood sandals
which leave a trail
of blue-black chevrons on the narrow path
like crows’ feet
or the worn calligraphy
that hides the artist’s name and printer’s mark
amongst the grey-green spikes of winter leaves.

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