And Then?

A Buddhist monk once said
    that life is like stepping
                                                   into a boat 
                              that is already sinking.
Death: it’s the apples rotting in the yard.

My mother says she is not afraid of death, but of dying.
Not me.  I am terrified of death,
its finality.
        	             Lights out.   
Or else, eternity.
    But first, the dusty volume propped open on the welcome desk,
                                          thick as a phonebook
The careful catalogue of my choices
to be considered:
                         The lies I told without blinking
                 All the homeless I have walked past 
 The mornings I left without saying I love you.

Humble, courageous, and kind:
           my mother will go to heaven.
Her heart is just enormous,
like Audrey Tautou in Amélie,
dipping her hands into sacks of grain
			                    at the market.
I might go to hell:
	I don't save birthday cards
        or love letters.
        I hoard unread novels
	and believe I am what I wear.
     I am bad
at listening

even as the Buddhist Zen says gently
          until death there is nothing
                                                      enough.

Image

Sunday in the Garden

I knew you would want
to talk about Kant or Descartes
or Hume again, how can I 
compete with them?
And this time
it's free will; you tell me
Physics doesn't leave
much room for choice--what if
everything has already been laid out?
                  I reach for a pastry,
taking the beignet
gently in my fingers, letting the sugar glaze
melt a little in the morning sun.
You lean back 
on your elbows and ask
me or the sky, what if it's all
               inevitable?
I polish off
the doughnut, licking
my fingers clean then rolling
up the cuffs of my jeans
That's called determinism, I say
and it haunts me.
You pause on that,
is there any other way?
Then you take my ankles
and swing my legs into your lap.
I lay back, shoulder blades
pressed flat into the grass
beneath the devstating canopy of clouds
and think about agency and freedom:
Chaos, I say
as if it's half a question. Spontaneity,
as if it's something
that I want very much
but am afraid to afraid to ask for.
You're holding my small pink feet
in your hands, everything about you,
unbearbly wistful.
                Which is worse?
Before I think too hard about it, I hear myself
answer: I don't care
as long as there is God.
What I mean
is I want both
freedom and meaning--
that's what we all want
don't we?
The things we can't ever seem
to get our hands on.