Reading Zen

When one is reading Zen, I am told, one should only read Zen. Nothing else. Yet I am writing this poem. Thinking of tea being poured in ceremony. Becoming a bird flying over the South China Sea. And since I have no knowledge of that sea, it becomes Lake Ontario and I fly east-northeast toward the St. Lawrence River. Gaining speed, I come to islands that multiply and then fade to open water again. I fly out over the Atlantic. Dive in. Become a fish or maybe a whale. Even then I wonder why I can’t be a shark. The Buddha says, be only what you are, but I am dreaming of the great white shark such that it now bears down on me. In the deep, I become again the middle aged man I imagine myself. The shark clamps down on my waist, cleaves me in two. The pain is beyond all measure. It is also nothing. I hit the shark across its snout with a book of Zen and I breathe, hoping to somehow come back together. I do all these things. The shark, my Buddha, says, do only one.