painting by Leslie Staub
(to my treasure, Leslie)
One day the Buddha awakened with a hole in her belly.
She thought of the busiest little belly fillers
she’d seen around her Bodhi tree
and gathered up a busload of ants.
That felt Buddhalicious for awhile, but even she
could not discern why they did what they did,
all the hither skither to and fro, and who was dead
and who still quick, and so she let them go.
The Buddha turned to the magic of the doughnut.
And oh how happy she felt after one or two or three.
And then she noticed that doughnutness itself
has a hole in its belly, so she lay what remained
(mostly the jelly-filled, the Buddha has taste)
and allowed the incomprehensible ants have the rest.
She thought of her childhood nickname, Buddhy,
And remembered her mother reading to her from books.
So she gathered a great many tomes and stacked
them in her belly hole and read them all: Rumi
and Basho and Li-Po and DeLillo; Proust, Emerson,
and Dickinson and even Naipaul, who trampled
all the daisies in her Buddhafield because
he thought they resembled women.
Well, there are always daisies, aren’t there,
so she planted a gracious many and they bloomed
in white and yellow and always nodded in agreement
which gets boring for anyone, even lovers of Enlightenment.
Soon they drooped, and Buddha-she took out her list,
not To-Do – there was nothing written there – but the other.
And she saw foxes and mountain tops and vibrant
company, and work and bicycles, and lots of poetry,
including Eliot’s Four Quartets. How lovely.
She leaned back against the trunk of her tree
and felt the breeze growing breezy, and she decided
I shall call this hole in me its own form,
and I shall keep the form whole for its own sake.
Her sister handed her a fig, and there it was: eternity.
She ate it, took a nap, and had a very pleasant dream.
She was a woman with a paintbrush and the brush
painted only holes, and she thought, Well, how very
fortunate for me.