Worshippers bring disease and disgrace  
to the temple. Behind glass, the golden man  
is sitting lotus, safe from the grease of hands.  
If only they could rub their bodies over him,  
kiss the blessed feet, caress the clear skies  
of his enlightenment, if only they could lay  
with him. Red candles are lit, promises made.  
For a coin, fickle fortunes are studied in the yarrow  
stalks. Deflated, losers go back to prayers, clicking  
their mala beads, while others, winners of both large  
and small battles, endorse icons with bills, beaming  
like glad children. Everyone plays, desperate to offer  
themselves, chanting until the divine heat cracks open  
their fragile pits, spreads into the secret, wet centers,  
to deliver the shuddering blessing, rapture of the cosmos.  
After the ceremony, cleaning ladies dust yellow and purple  
cattleyas, gossiping and flirting with monks. Vinyl cushions  
hold the intentions of knees, and fat fruit glistens on the altar.  
Outside, bodhis twist to the light in a fog of joss sticks.  
Everything, cleansed, in love with the world. Even the koi,  
in a reflection of marigolds, are smiling in the pond.  
*Note: This poem also appears in Message in a Bottle (scroll way down):
Written by pyrategurrll (Lauren Tivey)
Modified 3rd October 2011
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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