What I Know of This Living

What I Know of This Living

From bed every waking day as my feet touch
The tiled floor cold and clean like the tea cup
I have washed from use the night before,
The morning is always poised on giving me slices of life
Off the window frames: mostly the mood of the sky,
The shimmer of yellow and orange roof tiles
Of the pagodas, the solitude of stupas,
Monks filing past the columns as pigeons
Swoop in a blur, skyscrapers impassive
In the distance. No matter what,
I have them, my plants on pots
Of cool shapes giving cheers in the burst
Of buds and flowers, the tiny lone fish
In a square vessel nodding in triumph
To the both of us for discerning well
Another day on the edge.

There it lands at my feet on the floor,
A small butterfly, brown
As the wooden chair I’m sitting on.
With my swollen red eyes blighted by infection,
I look at it and consider its deeper intimation.
Since there never was a stray or visit
Of its kind in my home up here in the tenement,
In a foreign city I have come to endure
Like wisps of sadness, I presume
This butterfly bears a familiar spirit.
Look, its stays on its feet with nary a movement,
A breath away into my right toes.
In the ensuing stillness, as we regard each other
Without need for words,
A kind of warmth courses through me,
Exhilaration even at the thought that, yes,
It must be somebody so dear just departed.


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