The Buddha

What were all those Diamond Sutras
compared to the blades of grass
our bodies crushed as we caressed
each other with easy fingers
under a big willow whose stillness

grew disturbed? Our boxers

thrown aside with so much careless
fanfare—mutable circumstances
unable to free themselves from obligation
or guilt. Entirely too close
not to kiss, even his arms kept me

at a distance to preserve in us

an audience. We were sad sacks
robbed of agency, growing old a victory
worth giving away while winter
worked its way through boots splitting
at the seams. If only we had bought

a real coat rather than a bag

full of flatulent hand-me-down tricks
that forced everyone to sit down
and sulk! Forget about big windows
in that cold crabby room where we knelt
on an unmade bed. Old and fat,

who plumps the pillows now?

No way any longer not to get all
gussied up where the mind still
likes to maunder—drawn to psychic
trauma parading before us as a veritable
grande dame—the only questions left

so much smaller than our shame.

***

TIMOTHY LIU is the author of ten books of poems, including the forthcoming Don’t Go Back To Sleep (Saturnalia Books, 2014) and Let It Ride (Station Hill, 2015). He lives in Manhattan with his husband.

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