“The raft is not the shore” — Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace.

Sinless dung,

oak tree preach,

buffalo boy’s grass, bowl of milk.

Let understanding grow.

Rock, gas, mineral,

water wash feet —

cosmos meditates on cosmos.

Escape is no escape.

See suffering.

Avoid stacked coins.

Ocean salt, ashes in a velvet bag —

truth knock.

Straw on mud,

blanket on concrete,

hydrant draped in silk.

Work no harm.

Gaze, even on vomit.

Vent noxious.

Bike monk,

breakfast with tree,

84,000 doors,

a raft, a finger pointing.

No browbeating.

No gossiping.

No lying.

Cloud in paper,

waiting for hawk flight.

Footprint of a prophet,

ripped veil.

Let live.

Answer door.


Afraid of height, terrored of road,

insect-burdened, undesiring,

plant blank paper.

Every manner of thing will be well.

Book not yet performed.

Translate a single bird song.

Patrick T. Reardon

Patrick T. Reardon, a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, has authored eleven books, including the poetry collections Requiem for David (Silver Birch), Darkness on the Face of the Deep (Kelsay) and The Lost Tribes (Grey Book). Forthcoming is his memoir in prose poems Puddin’: The Autobiography of a Baby (Third World). His website is patricktreardon.com. His poetry has appeared in Rhino, Main Street Rag, America, Autumn Sky, Burningword Literary Journal and many others. His poem “The archangel Michael” was a finalist for the 2022 Mary Blinn Poetry Prize.

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