Thirty yeas ago, the house in Maine: the house
sits in a pasture – it’s got the aura of a steamship
sailing across a wavy sea. The pasture itself is
embedded in a dark forest of birch and fir that
crowds down-slope to a pair of black-eyed lakes.
Nobody mows the fields nor has in many years.
The pasture is consequently a mass of grassy tussocks,
treacherous to walk in. They are tussocks of a bright,
supple grass whose blades swirl close to the ground,
heightening the illusion of waves.
There’s a full moon. It’s grown cold, maybe cold
enough for a frost. It’s long after midnight, how long
none of us knows because we’ve been drinking all night —
nothing too unusual about that. I am a Buddhist back then —
one little Buddhist headed off the back porch to pee.
I’ve peed. I’m shivering, staggering among the
knee-high tussocks, exulting for mysterious reasons.
Except the moon is a sweet white eye, a smile of
clear light turning the dew on the grass to milk.
The house steams along somewhere alongside me.
The inevitable: I stumble, fall. There I sit: cold and empty
in the creamy grass: a happy baby at his hirsute
father’s breast. Maybe also inevitable:
a poemlet spurts out:
Oyasama above, below:
in the grass: father’s teats
are not dry.
The Buddhist nun Chiono was carrying a bucket
in which the full mood danced on top of the water.
She was enlightened in one stroke
when the bottom of her pail fell out.
For me it was the opposite. My pail was empty,
but when I looked down,
I had a bucketful of moon.
Contemporary Haibun Online January 2013