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John McCarthy


The surface area
            Of a secret life
                        Meditating calmly

On the open palms
            Of a mantra made
                        Out of man

Is how kindness
            Starts to become
                        Aware of its flesh—

A candle respecting its wax,
            The wind respecting its transience,
                        And then the body

Knowing it is wind
            Can carry kindness
                        Evenly and everywhere.


siddhartha unfinished,
binding folded backward,
handfuls of lesson

bent bird wing ruffled
on the coffee table.
my body taking

time to take
in its familial relation
to creek-shore pebbles,

my bronze thoughts
start to disturb
the universe, hinting

that I know
why it prefers silence
and stings us

when we make too much
noise. my palms brace
the balance of objects

in front of me
while the world behind
sleeps shadowless

and evaporates without
sound. and I walk
mindful in-between.

John McCarthy has worked as an Editorial Assistant to Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program since the fall of 2008. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Burner Magazine, Haiku Page, Catfish Creek, and Ghost Ocean Magazine among others.