I Fed Compassion to a Crow

My quarter-life luxury
was a spiritual crisis.
I drove it eastward and hard,

a geezer in a red coupe
or silly girl in pursuit
of dharma running in loops.

My swift-traded rack for wheel
brought me borrowed mindfulness,
and a peek show of the path.

I could be right where I was:
live, yet free of suffering!
Meditation dissolved bone,

voided knowledge of evil.
My no-self bore five precepts,
a list-driven aftermath

chockfull of lovingkindness.
My good! Ripe for abuse
in this death without mothering.

Skin like saffron robes,
patient as a monk,
I fed compassion to a crow.

In his nest bunker
of locks, bolts & shades,
that meek crow became a vulture.

For sixty-two days
he wore his necklace
of women’s fingers, grapes and dates.

Those decayed sweets? Infected.
Mosquitoes blacked my bare feet,
while a tick nuzzled my teat.
I was transformed, not deathless:
an ignorant Buddha, drowned guppy, cheat!

Enlightenment done wrong is just another crisis.

December, 2015

The first six  six stanzas are based on a mangled sonnet, while the next three follow a syllable count of 5-5-8 to represent the five precepts and the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. Sixty-two is the number of wrong views. The Buddhist parable of Angulimala tells of the conversion of a serial killer who wore a necklace of the fingers from his victims.

– Josephine St. Vincent, The Poet Obscura

Back to the Bone Pile


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