Vivid, luminous, and clear

Cymbals and then a green gong, and Lama’s voice at the end of each verse is low and full; his is the sound a mountain would make, if mountains sang. The day after, at lunch, I tell him how nice it was and he smiles a little and says really? and I think of how secretive magic can be, even to its owner.

Some mornings I walk into sun, others into fog. Lama holds one of my hands between both of his own and I wonder if he sees the blessing that it lays in my heart, that umber organ growing clearer and clearer with each day. Such a simple gesture, but it’ll feed me for another year. Lama, alone in America after lifetimes in the white-crowned Himalayas with their familiar, flowering fields and faces — is he fed too?

Golden Buddha with his lapis lazuli curls, open palm turned out, facing me, facing a world. Anxiety’s ax has long been cleaved into my shoulder blade, but it has rained twice since I’ve come here and though I am no freer, I feel cleaner; underneath the ax, the silver of my blood shines, again.