twig box November 6, 2015s

author’s note:

Violets have grown here and there
on the ruins of my burned house.
        — Shokyu-ni (trans. A. Miyamori)


I wanted to pity the child
sitting in a cardboard box
stuck in an abandoned lot

but the child wouldn’t stop

at the way the ragged Wind
made the paper flaps clap

at the way the hard Sun
gleamed across the barb-wire
and on the backs of crows

at the way I tried
to force a sincere tear
from my gray eye—

the child had seen my lie:

how I wanted to mourn him
because I felt so barren
—boxed-in by this life—

I had not accepted that pain:

instead, I’d chosen to believe
my sense of emptiness
came from the world around me—

everywhere I looked, I’d see
abandoned children
and empty lots…

until I heard that child laughing
at the beauty of the world’s abundance

then I too began to laugh…

at the sight of my hangdog self
—reflected so brightly—
in wisdom’s playful eye.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog