January 6, 2011

A balancing act

The Buddhists tells me
there is no past
only the present
a balancing act of breath
on the head of a pin.

Tattoos and marriages and layaway plans
beg to differ
but even these emerge as new in every moment,
the monks insist.

I asked a yogi once about the future.
The vanishing act of the past I can swallow whole
but what of the summer job I never took in Whitehorse
the friend who hung himself after work on a Tuesday night
the train I missed.

I used to imagine that all stolen paths
kept going
busting past life’s detours
unfolding to another ending
farther away
a satisfactory conclusion
like when you were a kid and you rode your bike downhill without peddling or using your brakes and you let the momentum take you fast at first and then slower and slower and slower and you can barely believe how perfect it is when you coast, wobbling now, right to a stop at your back gate.

And the yogi said
take more picnics.

I didn’t know what she meant
but I did it anyways
my supper tasted lovely dipped in the wind
and the sun bowed her head that evening
whispered something to the grass
it made me cry a little
and I watched as the tears balanced
like dew drops
on the tip of each blade.

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