Reading the Economist on a Friday night

(after Billy Collins)

This is what I do these days—
the couch, the cat, the dog and me,
maybe with a cup of tea.
I read the Economist, soberly.
Outside rain hits the mango tree
and my phone dings to alert me:
friends have arrived at a nearby bar.
I told them I was getting over a flu,
all true but really
I wanted it to be just me and you,
One article includes a map:
Japan’s closest islands, called “geta-baki de iku,”
close enough to visit in casual wooden slippers.
What a wonderful image!
The archipelago, throwing on its robe for a quick hello.
Next door, my neighbor’s clogs clack
on the rain-slick path between our houses.
Then the soft thud of someone kneeling,
the skim of a paper door sliding open.


Jessica Niles DeHoff is an artist and writer living in Beijing. Drawing on her earlier career in architecture and urban planning, her work dramatizes interactions between individuals and their social, cultural, and spatial environments. Jessica holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale School of Architecture, and she has taught design at universities in Japan, China, and the USA.

Jessica has published on topics related to art and design in journals (online and paper) all over Asia. She’s also been the primary author and editor of three books on architecture and urban design.


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