The Buddha listens as her friend G
remembers the day a pair of cops came
to her home, to break the news:

they’d fished out her son’s body
from the Shuylkill river— no marks
of violence, his pockets empty, his feet

unshod. You know in your bones, says G.
Her mother, who opened the door, crumpled
to the floor like a sheet yanked

from the line. In old myths and sacred texts
are passages which describe how, when a child
is born, a life index plant is set in the soil

by the front door, along with his mother’s
afterbirth. Whatever happens to the child
is mirrored in the curling vine, the wild

hibiscus, the golden shower tree. No words
were needed for what shriveled like a leaf
in the heart, constricted the gut:

invisible blow dealt to the base
of the staff, lone bird that held out its
familiar note in the wood, now stilled.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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