To the Stone Head of Buddha on a Garden Platter on my Deck

     I have only your head: heavy, life-
sized, discolored by lichen and chalky
     in spots, severed from the rest of you;
stylized rendition of your signature
     hairstyle with topknot, eyes cast down
benignly, lips in a half-smile; round
     chiseled ears ending in a slightly
fleshier lobe that indicates you might
     have worn earrings—Royal in youth,
ascetic in later years; one for whom
     a life of solitude became the home
of homes. How free were you, really,
     from all distraction: living
in the wilderness or pilgrim on
     the road? Where I sit, book open
and computer idle, I find it difficult
     to tune out birdsong, that mellow
light of late afternoon that tends
     to stir up a mess of feelings
I only thought were safely settled
     at the bottom of my well.
Several times these past few weeks
     it's like I've lost if not my head
then my mind, unable to comprehend
     this epidemic of suffering all
over the world. O sorrow I don't know
     what to do with my hands, where
my feet could take me other than
     from room to room inside my house
or around the block. I can imagine
     you saying something like  
Don't attempt to control what    
     cannot be controlled; or This  
virus, though real, still is part of 
     the universe of illusion...
But for pointing out what's true
     or backed by evidence, prophets
and scientists have a tendency to be
     thrown out of the press conference;
fired, booed, or worse, assassinated
     while the lot of us go on as best
we can manage. So I plant one foot
     in front of the other, trying
to find a way to that clearing where
     I'll meet again the missing
parts of myself; where silence is more
     shimmer than menace and I might
remember what it's like to be tender.   

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