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Bodhisattva Ordination on Camp St.

by Amanda Mitzel

Sunday at the Zen Temple

is sweet and form-bound and mystic in its

complete non-mysticness,

church bells making a pinball racket against

the tropical greens and oranges of the paintings,

the space silver of the eyes of ensos.

Red wine collects in glasses, in mouths

like cistern water or inlets of tannin

in the land of Mark West.

Ten hours earlier, I swallowed an orange tablet

with a tiger’s face

and spent an epoch stroking the crest of

my cat Hiba’s head like she was a statue of

some fish-eyed deity.

They’re playing John Lennon at the piano,

the singer’s hair red gold,

her father’s the same,

their voices twisted together: velvet-hollow vines.

Out the back window, high rises

then the mud curves of the Mississippi.

I can hear the wind and today I can see it, too.

China blue.

My friend Rose is there and I fall in love

with the halo of her hair,

the skylight making shapes of crescents and arrowheads

on the black twist of her kesa.

Amanda is a nurse and writer living in New Orleans. She loves sumo and storms.

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June 2019

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