ENFOLDING

As a child I was quite adept
folding sheets of newspaper
into paper hats and paper boats.
The boats immediately took on water,
and sank like the sodden masses
I made them to be, but I could wear
the hats for hours, until my mother
had to scrub my forehead
to get off the printer’s ink.
You might think I would consider
becoming a reporter or journalist
given my penchant for newsprint,
but I instead became a Buddhist
because I do love folding things
over and over and over again
kirigami requires the use
of scissors, which my mother prohibited.

MORNING

Each morning she looks at the small window in her bedroom, just after the sun has broken the horizon and the lake is set ablaze. Each morning she sees the small boat, its oars resting on the gunwale, dark against the orange water. She never asks how the boat got there, why it stays there, seemingly unmoving. Tomorrow she will awaken and the boat will be gone. She will mourn its absence. Or tomorrow she will not awaken and the boat will be there, and will mourn her absence.

DOING THOUGHT TIME

 

 

The hardest prison to escape
is the one whose walls are built
by the mind in fear and trepidation.
It is like the open gate you dare
not enter fearing that you are leaving
and will not be allowed to return.
Atop a pole there are
an infinite number of directions
in which you can go and only one
is straight down, but you fear
selecting any, for gravity
is a fear as great as death,
yet you can feel neither.
The prison of the mind
is impregnable, for there
fear and pain live in conflict
and you are a small boat
on an angry sea staring
always at the roiling waves.

THE LAKE

Sitting out in the middle
of the large lake
is a very small island.
It’s more of a large rock
just sticking out of the water,
but everyone calls it an island.
Moss grows all over the exposed part
so you don’t know it’s all stone
unless you row out to it,
which no one ever does.
No one goes out on the lake,
no one swims in it,
the lakeĀ is just there, growing
when it rains, shrinking
in the heat of summer.
And that is just fine
with the lake, although
it does like the occasional
pebble dropped into it
so it can ripple like a proper lake
even if no one sees.

FISHING

Many years ago,
I would sit in a small boat
and drop my hook
into the river, and wait
for the bass to strike.
Those were the days
when a large enough fish
would be served at dinner,
and smaller fish were thrown back
to heal in the water.
I no longer fish
but the river hardly
notices my absence.

Late in the night
I cast my hook
into the sky, hoping
to catch the wind’s voice,
and if its song is loud
to steal a few choice notes
to tuck away in my journal.
Most nights
there are only the tears
of stars and the song
of the sleeping hawk,
a lullaby to the moon.