Birds of Prey – Saigon

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
– Dalai Lama

birds of prey

the priest and huyen

sit across from the dying mother-in-law

tham, she is Buddhist

and afraid

they smell the rotting meat

of fear

tham is afraid to die

the priest –  eager to convert her

in her time of fear

they hover eagerly

will she take their bait?

a precaution added insurance for

her journey

leaving it behind

whatever use it might be

discarded in a heap with silken pajamas

left behind

as she crosses through the final exit

what remains of 53 years

of traditions

rituals handed down

from her ancestors

will they pick those

bones clean

they chant as they recite the beads

and count her among those caught

in their net

Bisous,

Léa

For the rest of her life

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,

the more joy you can contain.”

~ Khalil Gibran

For the rest of her life

*

The rich soil

A gaping wound

In anticipation

This greedy predator

Hungers for its prey

*

The tiny pine offering

A simple shroud

A sack of earth her pillow

Static voices – rat-a-tat-tat – rat-a-tat-tat

Nothing of comfort here

*

A spring planting

Where only grief

Takes root

Pain is now

My shadow

*

A branch

Frail

Unable to survive

Severed

The tree hollowed

*

What mother leaves

A daughter alone

In the unforgiving earth

Returns to Brooklyn

And fondles tiny white shoes

*

Come winter

I daven

The wound engulfs me

And the child

Who lie in the snow

 

Bisous,

Léa