In Memory of Ajahn Chah


Gently hold the glass of water

and raise it to your lips,

knowing it’s already broken.

The bones in your hand belong

to your great-grandmother,

even though she lies in her grave,

as quiet as the afternoon light

that splashes yellow paint

across the white kitchen table.


The veins that ride around your

knuckles are just like your uncle’s;

you swim together in the same

river, flashing with ancestral

fish as your crawling arms emerge,

polished by the current, the hairs

aligned, flattened by wetness.


You turn your head to gulp

the same air breathed by your parents

on the night they conceived you,

or the night Jesus himself was

conceived, or the morning Pallas

Athena came galloping out of Zeus’

skull in a literally splitting

headache, her horse snorting

the air as his hoofs thundered

and kicked up clouds of dust

from the sacred, ancient Greek ground.


Through it all the Buddha sits,

calmly watching his eyelids,

endless lifetimes generated

by his mind, possessed by deep

and peaceful breaths as he floats

on his lotus flower, silently,

secretly smiling on the world.


To love is to know.


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