Your heavy-lidded eyes,

colorless, empty,

observe the city through the veiled

window of the museum’s

Asian collection.


The scrim is down against the sun,

and you, sculpted in tenth-century

black basalt, gaze at skyscrapers

and red tourist buses through the fog

of centuries. East never does meet West.


Preserver, do not destroy us.

We have already destroyed ourselves.

A god can sit back and watch, eat bright fruit,

swing in a heavenly hammock,

pose in a museum.


But humans exist

to store up gold, count the wounds

of their enemies, cherish money and blood.

Perhaps you have tricked us

with your serenity, your aura of stillness

and the small fires of your silence.

You protect only

our splintered bones, our rotted flesh.

Under all, a serpent poisons us

with our own hate.


I must leave this city, its cruel glitter,

its naked greed, to join the Buddha,

sit myself under a tree, and think only of lilies,

raindrops becoming the sea, or nothing,

nothing at all.