Produced by Dennis Camire

This week’s poem is by Leonore Hildebrandt, who teaches at the University of Maine at Orono and who just published “Where You Happen to Be,” by Deerbrook Editions.

 

Buddha at the Crossroads

By Leonore Hildebrandt

 

The Buddha’s stone feet rest on the cave’s floor.

Seven stories high, a window — carved into the cliff

so he may look out toward the forgotten city

and the mountain’s soft-rising belly.

 

Visitors arrive, bringing their language of humid air,

the cave’s decline — it is nothing to him —

his mouth knows the tastes of morning and night

in measures of stillness. Seated within rock,

the Buddha awaits the desert — folds and ridges,

a splendid cloth that sifts onto his knees. Inside his cave,

the sky swings — ink-blue petals, boreal leaves —

wild riders are streaming past, the silk road trembles.

 

Seven stories for the painted flakes that peal off his face.

What is a window without eyes? The Buddha

wonders. Words shift like sand, the visitors’ feet

stirring up warnings and jubilance.

 

Dennis Camire can be reached at [email protected]