with a camera almost as old as me,
the zen monk cocks the shutter to
take a black and white polaroid
to mark my 60th birthday:
“hold your arms out high –
like you’ve just won something,” he says.
after our breakfast of tea, rice and fruit,
in the midst of a warm May morning,
I squint to see the picture he took
just moments ago.
“It looks so cold there,” he says
looking over my shoulder and
tapping at the center
of the underexposed print.
“And you can’t smell
the crabapple blossoms at all.”
“Can you normally smell them?” I ask.
“Yes, well, every spring,” he answers,
brushing pink petals from his black robe
and putting his camera away.
“Every single spring.”