It never rained when I visited Senso-ji and Todai-ji Temples. I attributed this to good fortune, the Buddha clearing the skies for my visit. The young monk said the Buddha cares nothing for weather, so I should thank the Japan Meteorological Agency although they never seem to give him the weather he truly wants.
There are so many questions for which I have never gotten an answer. What, for instance, does one who is lactose intolerant cry over? If the rest is history, can’t we just stop now and read it later? And if every cloud has that silver lining, it has been well seeded, so why isn’t it raining? If you sleep on the left side of the bed, do you always get up on the wrong side? And when I answer your next question, I will start by saying “to be dishonest with you.” What will you do with that, Epimenides?
I remember the afternoon was cold and damp, with a persistent drizzle that escaped the clustered umbrellas, the sky a blanket slowly shedding the water that soaked it as it sat out on the clothesline.
I suspect you would have liked it this way, everyone in attendance, everyone shuffling their feet, wanting to look skyward, knowing they would see only a dome of black umbrella domes.
I recited the necessary prayers, kept a reasonable pacing despite the looks of many urging me to abridge the service, but the rain didn’t care about their wishes and I knew you wouldn’t so I carried on to the conclusion.
As they lowered your coffin into the puddled grave, I imagined you laughing, knowing in the end you had this day gotten the last one.
She says her favorite month is May, when spring’s grip is tightest, but most of all she cherishes the rain. She is intimate with the rain, there is a privacy that only she can concede, if she wants. She can take a drop of rain and it is hers alone, she need only share it with the sky, it is always clean on her tongue. She may borrow rain from the trees, catch it as it slides from leaves, or watch it slowly tumble from the eaves of the house she remembers from childhood. She loves walking barefoot through fresh fallen puddles as it washes bitter memories into the willing earth.
The gravestones, in random shapes line the hill the morning chill creeps between them and onto the runway until washed away by the spring sun slowly pushing upward as the jet noise washes the hill unheard
He passed away quietly in his bed ending his dread of the cancer slowly engulfing him his vision dimmed by the morphine that pulsed through his veins. He paused to remember the first spring rains.
She selected the plot on the hillside she would confide to friends, so that he might see the valley at long last free, to see the flowers bloom in early spring, the land that was his home and he its king.
One summer the caskets were carried out while the devout cursed the sacrilege of the master plan of the madman who decided that the airport must sit on the hill, his valley forever split.
The jets rush over the cemetery February snows blown across the gravestones in their wake as one snowflake melts slowly on the ground, a falling tear which, unheard, marks another passing year.
First Appeared in Candelabrum Poetry Magazine (UK), April 2002.
God sits at his easel, brush in hand and thinks about the butterfly alighting on the oak. This man would rather paint the nightmare of hell, but he has been cast out and his memory has grown dim. He remembers being a small child amused by the worm peering from soil in a fresh rain and how when he split it, both halves would slither away in opposite directions. Now he rocks in the chair and watches night fall and shatter on the winter ground.
First Appeared in Medicinal Purposes: A Literary Review, Vol. 1, No. 6, Spring 1997.
We sat on our lanai last night in our twin rockers, the cat curled close by but carefully removed from the rockers and stared into the sky hoping meteors would grace us with their fleeting presence.
The moon did appear, shrouded in thin clouds, spectral ghost waxing slowly in hiding, but the stars had fled this night, fearing the rain that the cloud mantle promised.
We never did see a meteor but we know they will return next year and the cat says it is hardly worth interrupting a good nap for a momentary flash of light, and we just touched hands and retreated to bed.
I still have the tie I wore to m grandmother’s funeral, one I conducted, but the suit from that day is long gone, and just as well, for it would be several sizes too large for the present me.
I’ve only worn the tie once since that rainy day in Maryland and then to a wedding to balance out the sadness with a bit of joy, the tie deserved at least that for standing with me in the downpour, urging me to recite the ancient prayers as quickly as possible.