This Morning I Did Zazen on the Toilet
Radiance Angelina Petro
This morning I did zazen on the toilet.
As I shaved I thought: “I’d love to be a whore.”
Instead, I’ve been startled by a falling leaf,
and the lines on my palms extend out beyond my hands
making it difficult to whore.
Someone is riding an ox backwards into the temple,
a hermit sits on my roof, grinning, holding a sign
that says: “Too many vacancies.”
On my way to the station there’s a butterfly serving tea at a cafe,
there’s a cap-sized boat floating in the middle of the lake,
everyone in the park is playing fetch with each other.
I crunch a rice cake on the train. Looking out the window
I see a child turn into a tree, a nun leaps and turns into
a bat and flies into the loft of a barn, the apple pickers
turn into bears, a coyote picks up a stick and pretends it’s a flute.
Later that night, a little girl pulls down the moon
with her teeth, a black octopus roils across the hills,
there’s a fish swimming in the hair of the lady sitting in front of me.
Just before sleep, I turn the band of my watch one notch
tighter, I try to cling to the soft breathing of the other passengers,
but can’t. A man walks down the aisle towards me with the head of a wolf.
Tomorrow I’m going to praise ferocity, and when I get off
this train, I’m going to run with the berserkers, and join the frenzy
of it all, and howl backwards into my life.