Two Haikus from Last Year

Dons of Ants, petty


of little nothings







(the sunrises and sunsets of the mountain peak

the one who walked past the bridge

birds flying past leaving no trace


From We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies (2)

Has this always been our family’s fate? To begin together in a few years of happiness only to break into so many shards? Reaching out my hand in the dark again, I hold my sister’s wrist. This wrist– this small meeting of bone and skin. It is made of our mother and father, their bones, their skin. When I hold my sister’s wrist, I hold the echo of their wrists. My hand travels up Tenkyi’s cool, damp arm, her flesh filling up my palm and fingers. This too is theirs. Although I no longer have their faces, at any time, I can squeeze this arm. I can kiss these cheeks. I can smell this hair. And by caring for my sister, I can keep caring for my parents. No force, no person can take this from me. It is as simple as that.

From “We Measure the World with Our Bodies” by Tsering Yangzom Lama

This is my sister’s nature. But I want to tell her: In the next life, yes, we can both go wherever we please. In the next life, we will be free and safe and happy. We will grow under our parents’ gaze like small trees until we are strong women, able to decide our fates. And when our parents are old and frail, we will watch over them until they enter the bardo, and when they enter the bardo, we will light a million butter lamps so they can see the path through the in-between. And when they reach the shores of their fates, we will know that we have done the most important thing anyone can do for their beloved. We will have cared for their souls and then let them go. But that was not our path in this life.

A Thought for Nova

Some time since getting off the road
after we’ve been home a while
you stopped needing a light on
at night

You’ve arrived
at the place that was made for you

like you always belonged

photo credit: animal dad