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.