A wooden Buddha gazes down
upon my desk from a small shelf
painted the same color as the walls:
Chinese Dragon. Beside him,
a picture Lucy drew when she was six
shows a bird with human face
and the words Have fun being a parrot
written below it in parrot colors.
Earnestly I vow to become one,
sleek-feathered, able to fly pathless
above human traffic in a kingdom
of light and air, no suffering.
I can’t go on feigning surprise
at the kalpas it’s taken so far,
since they’re all my kalpas.
I follow the path, but it forks.
To the right, faint blazes ruckle the bark.
The trail follows the brook all the way to Nirvana,
where I have never been. To the left,
the path soon splits again: right to Nirvana,
left to the trail that forks.