Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gently Settled

           At some point,
I knelt on my father’s grave
grassy grave,
lit sandalwood incense,
chanted the Heart Sutra, and,
while my waiting family did
the graveside shuffle,
finished with a command to
“be a buddha.”

Kneeling on the grass
over the boxed up but
gently settled clothes of my father,
this pretend Catholic,
pretending to be a Buddhist,
commanded his dead
but pretend Lutheran
father to also pretend to
be a dead Buddhist,
which didn’t work.

What I understand now,
that I did not in the
rapturous scent of
sandalwood then,
is that it takes a certain
amount of falsehood
to be true to yourself.

So I should have pretended
to be a Catholic pretending
to be a Buddhist pretending
to be a Catholic pretending
to pray my father out of purgatory;
in which case, I could have
gone home and pretended
that I had finally accomplished
something in his life.


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