And if they ask what it means
I’ll say on a wintry fuyu schoolday
I’d wake with frosted eyelashes in my futon
Hear you scraping the windscreen
Engine humming to keep the backseat warm

How in the oven of July
You’d move the car under the matsu tree
Crack the windows to keep air flowing
Ice cubes in a thermos by the genkan

I’ll say every other afternoon
When I was learning new sonatas
You would sit in the bathroom
Under the Sensei’s stairs to stay warm
Scales and trills tumbling through the ceiling

If they ask what it means
I’ll say, I’ll say, I’ll say


Tamiko Dooley (she/her) (@Tamiko_Dooley) was the winner of the BBC Radio 3 carol competition, 2021.