“Spot” from Ten Thousand Days

Breathing in — — Breathing out. I thought I saw it lift from the floor,

though maybe this is a result of triangulation. It did other things in my eyes or my mind or who knows really — But, I believed it appeared as a mosquito, then various shore-birds, a sandpiper, a kingfisher — but it was never a grey heron standing in a stream, as I wanted, though soon I forgot the stream, I forgot the heron.


I believed it would be there forever

or what counts as forever when we

are as human as we are


I watched as close as I can come to the way that a tree

watches — or the way that a tree knows that it, like a boulder

and everything else is not holding still: I know this too,

but forget so much of the time or trick myself myself


I came to love it.

Just a small speck,no bigger than a dot

that could be made with a felt tip pen.


from my cushion I put my knowing into it,

and I was certain that it

knew everything that seemed to

shake through me the way that I once

shook piñon pines from the trunk

to harvest pine-nuts

I felt the dropping

as everything I kept released

and fell like so many pine-nuts

piling up on a cloth — dropping

and dropping


almost everything

left me ,

still It kept

me there

It was the darkest red

of a bloodstain, but I did not

believe it was dried blood,


it could very well

have been:


I thought that maybe it had once been a drip that fell when the wood

of the high vaulted ceiling of the meditation room was being stained.

Perhaps it was black and the yellow floor had shifted it red to my eyes.

I never moved closer to take a look, it seemed wrong, a pact we had made,

me and the spot, our respective jobs holding the distance,

as something sacred, the space a kind of vessel containing

a gift — a gift it gave to me, but what I gave

I am not to know, as that is not a vessel I can know

how to hold


This went on for 5 days, and as I said — it kept me there — hours passing — mornings and nights, and as long as it was — it brought me back.

Then on the 6th day it was gone. I didn’t believe my eyes, or my mind, But I could not find it and so I was lost — because there was nothing else — just an empty yellow floor.

Something like a fist grew inside of me and clinched me from the inside, and then I shivered and I cried — without thinking, I cried tears and shivered more, rocking back and forth and my head did tiny twirls in the air — as if I was a poplar constantly correcting itself in the wind — and I realized that I was not breathing and so I inhaled

and exhaled deeply, knowing this for the appropriate situation that it was — that I did not want, but I met it, it met me back

and I sat, just sat without

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