To study dharma
is to study the self, as it comes,
as it goes.
If she’s not herself,
then who am I—all alone,
the wife’s really sick.
The hummingbird darts
in and out, a brief visit—
flowers along the rail.
She asks for something cold. I get it,
worrying that my coffee
White and gray cumulous re-gather,
chasing the blue
that chased them away.
Old friends, the monk
and the minister huddle in conversation
over current medications.
The wife in the hospital,
I sleep on her side,
use her pillow—in the silence.
Late night—the wife in the hospital,
waiting procedures—and I at play
or is it prayers or deals
or offerings to stem the tide?
Amidst the swirl
the smallest next step,
pulls the foot forward—
the only certainty.
Having no idea what day it is,
I work the numbers back and forth,
hoping to reclaim the present
with a name—
The nembutsu spirit…
It’s movement, movement
through familiar terrain
that smoothes the tangled tasks
of new challenge
with the taste of readiness.
Forcing myself out of bed
at the regular hour, to stretch,
to the street and curve and climb,
the distant bay
in thoughtless periphery.
Each step littered
with accrued anxiety discarded
of itself, self-patterned breaths
tracing true the sound of the real
sitting, lying down, walking,
The pine stands its own
against the distant back drop
of gray, the great eucalyptus too,
and the tall palm. All quiet,
quite dignified in their place,
while I who barely merit a silhouette,
seem somehow to believe
it is I who tower…
if one has
yet to live.
I mean, I ask
and having asked,
to the sky—
what a wonder!
Looking out at the morning hills, as we often do.
The rise most near lifts pale green grasses
into cloudless skies, the downward slope to the north
and west, revealing the distant ridgeline
that overlooks canyons not visible from here.
Varied shades of spring green, peppered with the light
colored faces of the houses of this small community.
The great eucalyptus that leans to the corner
of the window, the porch railing, quivering ornaments.
The blanket covering my legs. The warmth.
And on the table, the large burnished vase,
full with multi-colored flowers,
sending signals of wishes
for a quick recovery.
And through the door,
the many containers, warmed
with the heft and sustenance