IN SEARCH

He’d been searching for ever,
or so often seemed, for no-self,
and he couldn’t fathom why it was so difficult
to attain simple absence, nothing
must be less than something, after all.
He knew, like Sisyphus, he would continue
to search until he succeeded, the gods
of his soul decreed it and you don’t fuck with them.
It was difficult recalling how much time
had been wasted in the search for mirrors
and when he found one, looked, there he was
selfsame, self-filled, and he imagined, selfish.
He took to always carrying a hand mirror
and when he thought he might have found it
he glanced at the polished surface in his hand
and there he’d still be, his endless self
older now, but there, very much still there.
One day, frustration getting the better of him
he wandered deep into a massive forest, hours later
sitting on a fallen trunk, he reached for his mirror, gone.
There was tree and sky and earth, that was all,
as night enveloped everything, even his no-self.

FOREVER, ALMOST

It is a large boulder in the middle of a rutted path. That path leads nowhere in particular. It comes to an end at the edge of what appears to be a dense forest. Several trees are posted with “Do Not Trespass” signs, long faded until you must stare to make out the words. The forest is foreboding, so it is not clear if anyone would willingly enter. Few ever come down the path. Fewer still make it to its end. The large boulder has been here for centuries. It stares up at the sky, in amazement.

PICNIC

A cloud envelopes the forest.  The trees believe it is they who pierce the cloud, impaling it, its essence drained onto their sagging limbs.  The shower passes and we walk the forest floor.  In a small clearing we lie down on a damp bed of needles.  They do not pierce our skin.  Four birds gather on a nearby limb.  They stare at us, we back at them.  I pull sandwiches from the picnic basket, a bottle of wine.  You open the small blanket.  The birds seem to find this interesting.  They chitter among themselves.  We only think we understand what they are saying.  The tomato is pressed tight against the mozzarella, basil leaves floating above.  Crumbs from the ciabatta fall on the blanket.  I am distracted by a motion on the edge of vision.  I turn and think it is a doe standing many yards off, in an odd stand of birch that seem lost, dwarfed by the surrounding pines.  Bits of roll fall on the ground.  The birds pause and take careful note of this.  They are certain when we carefully pack up, the last drops of wine spilled on the ground, our forgotten scraps will be their meal.  As we walk from the forest we watch as the trees release their grip.  We see the cloud slip away into a sunlit sky.