The Buddha’s friend asks for her opinion

on whether she should follow her bliss,
wrench herself away from all that has made her
so unhappy through the years; leave behind empty,

meaningless days revolving from one predictable
ritual of domestic life to another— elementary
school drop-off each morning, followed by a trip
to the coffee shop for a half-caf or cortado;

then the spa, lunch, and shopping with her gym
buddies at the mall, after which each of them
will go their separate ways, backing out
of the parking garage and waving perfectly

manicured hands from the windows of their Volvos
or Land Rovers because Ohmygod I didn’t realize
how late it is and the nanny will be furious!

Back home, she usually pours a glass of wine

before taking the kids and the dog for a walk around
the block, her way of watching the clock, counting
down, wondering if her husband will be home
for dinner or if he’ll text to say Sorry, another

late night at the office to finish XYZ account,
which she knows is bullshit shorthand for Don’t
stay up I’ll be fucking my mistress in some undisclosed
downtown location.
The Buddha’s friend sobs;

she has had it, she is leaving her 20-year marriage
to explore what it means to have an affair herself,
to take up jazz and learn scat singing; to smoke weed,
volunteer with a rock band, be their groupie and travel

around the country in a bus with no fixed
destination. Her friend’s eyes are red-rimmed
from crying. The Buddha offers her a Kleenex
and a hug, knowing that perhaps this is one

of those times just listening may be the best
approach: to be there for her without judgment,
biting her tongue so she doesn’t blurt out questions
yet like What about the kids, the dog, the house?

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Private: The Buddha does not sing in the shower,What does it mean →

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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