gassho

“Jiso Bodhisattva Statues” ~photoeverywhere https://stockarch.com/images/places/japan/jizo-bodhisattva-statues-5721

incense
smoke rises
nembutsu

i have dug
for years
i have dug
yet all i find:
this hole.
nembutsu

i suspect that i will never be able to bury you:
no more than i can fill the hole within me
with the hole you gave me
nembutsu

torn, spurting
bloodlines
ruptured
i cannot staunch
the life that flows out
torn pulsing
long before i was born
here
no ashes
not even memories to bind me
would you have owned me,
had you known?
nembutsu

you,
who surround me,
silent-backed
what drove you?
what was it that made you
make me
then
cast me
behind,
severed umbilicus
bleeding mystery
nembutsu

Jizo,
is it too late?
this map, carefully drawn
from whispered stories
flutters, torn
useless:
the past has burned away;
child no longer,
still, i am lost
Jizo . . .
nembutsu

my
our 
family
we have a long, honorable
tradition
of
estrangement
nembutsu

i want to scream
itʻs useless, of course, screaming
brings
nothing
nembutsu

there are only severed tongues
no one speaks
only suspect half-truths
fall
ashes
nembutsu

surely
someone stood there
dumbfounded shock
yielding to mindless terror
flash-frozen
in the blinding light
before the
raging fires
before the
rain
fell
black
nembutsu

i have searched
sisters separated by a sea
bound by bombs
these cities
hide their secrets well.
nembutsu

i should be a secret
yet,
you knew
and burned
all traces
now you
are the secret
unknown
nembutsu

my
family tree
burnt
ashes
i want to ask you questions
ashes
trickle from my mouth
you donʻt answer -
i suspect you blew away,
ashes
on a clear Hiroshima
August morning.
i planted oleander
but they do not bloom
perhaps the soil has
too much
ashes
nembutsu

i have come
incense in hand
smoke swirls around me
“did it swirl like this?”
i wonder
my tiny conceit
of understanding
suffering

nembutsu