ASKING

Asking saints to intercede
is something quite new to me,
having never considered that saints
were people whom I might seek out.

I’ve started carefully, only
seeking saints who hang
on my family tree, Margaret,
Itta, Begga, Adela, Arnulf,

and I’ve vowed to ask nothing
for myself, for karma will
see to me one way or another,
so I ask only for those in need.

I don’t know if the saints
will respond, or how I would
know if they did, but my wife says
that prayer never hurts,

and I cannot argue with that.

LEILA

At the left click of the mouse
my granddaughter appears
barely a week old
and with a right-click
she is frozen into the hard drive.
I remember sitting outside
the Buddha Hall of Todai-Ji Temple
in the mid-morning August sun the
smiling at a baby waiting in her stroller
for her mother to bow
to the giant golden Buddha.
I recall the soft touch
of the young monk on my shoulder,
his gentle smile, and
in halting English, his saying
“all babies have the face
of the old man Buddha.”
In the photos, the smile
of my son is the smile
on the face of Thay,
the suppressed giggle that always
lies below the surface of
the face of Tenzin Gyatso.
There is much I want to ask her,
my little Leila, there is much
she could offer, but I know
that like all Buddhas
she will respond with a smiling
silence and set me back on my path.

Published in As Above, So Below, Issue 9, August 2022
https://issuu.com/bethanyrivers77/docs/as_above_so_below_issue_9