In the convenience store
a woman counts change,
a penny at a time,
to buy a single can
of malt liquor
The light bulb burns out.
The sun will burn out.
Where did the light begin?
This body, mind and self
will last as long as they are needed.
Almost ten at night, and the temperature isn’t far below a hundred degrees. Dogs barking in the neighborhood, and I think about my favorite jisei (Japanese death poem):
Where did that dog
that used to be here go?
I thought about him
once again tonight
before I went to bed.
- Shimaki Akahiko (1876-1926)
Swish of windshield wipers
in a summer storm -
he waits for the light to change
and remembers her crying
as he left her in the hospital.
Bird-shit lands on the Buddha statue,
or the Buddha-statue lands on the
bird-shit. Neither lands on either,
but observers holy and profane ignore
Buddha-nature in favor of story.
She sleeps restlessly. He sleeps not at all.
Eyes closed. Heat of her breath on his face.
Bed, house, street, planet. The diameter
of the observable universe is at least
93 billion light years.
In absence of belief
I bow before
a woman’s naked body,
the purring of a cat,
each rising of the moon.