This is about all I need in a poem. It may be pretty much all I need. It's like an incredibly well-tooled joke with a strong set-up complete with dustpan, bowties, and galoshes. Two thirds of the way through everything picks up pace just a touch and a thin, old Buddha materializes raking answers into the Zen garden. I look out and largely past, not yet able to see well. The joke leaves me smiling but also a little sad. It gets me to thinking.
I consider the thousand Buddhas in my own house. The Buddha of the ink bottle. The Buddha of the dictionary and calendar who does both jobs needing money to pay of his student loans. The Buddha of shaving admires his smooth skin continually touching his face with one hand gently, gently. Outside, the Buddha of dogs accepts the neighbor's untrained beast barking at every passerby and most cars, but looks strained from the lack of sleep. The Buddha of grey skies and rain holds the door open for the Buddha of first flurries. There is a Buddha of our porch lights who appears earlier every evening. The Buddha of desire sleeps in each of our beds with cold feet and sharp toenails. I would tell you about the Buddha of cats, but each cat is Buddha. We have no Zen garden to rake, but a young child Buddha sits at the kitchen table under the light holding a pencil in her hand. She writes a single word on a blank page. This is the whole story but I take it as a prompt and fill the rest of the page and two more with all my thinking. Though if you ask I can only just recall the word she wrote there and couldn't possibly pronounce it.