Fugue & reflection

Through a clearing in the woods
we walked to a house where a polished
floor had been laid and the windows

looked out into a well of trees.
Flags of orange, yellow, and green
fluttered like prayers detonating

in the wind. I was offered and took
a cloth-bound mallet in my hand,
and struck at the rim of the gong.

It released a full, deep note
like a ring, like an eddy
that rose and branded the air

with its widest name. What should I
have answered when it asked which is
the better teacher, desire or suffering?

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