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David Guterson

DHARMA BUM

Boat on the water—
A treble note, fading.

In the new light, it’s clear:
We’re moving toward rain.

Fallen flowers on the table—
Night has laid them under.

Already I’m foolish enough
To have hopes for the coming hours.

My morning tea’s rich,
Superior to other things.

I cling to the dancers
And the cruel remark.

I haven’t overcome the applause
Or the hearse.

My waste bin’s full of pleas.
I think about my needs.

Deposited on the shore of waking, alive,
A mayfly, like me, has all day.


EXITING THE BARDOS

It’s a moment of regret,
Finding parents.
You wake up in the old realm.

Was your will honored?
Imagine all the lovers on the night in question
Seeing God on His distant shore.

You fall in.  Lathered, rank with one another,
Those two chuff like fish on a deck
And return to their sheets and opened door.

Thus are you bound again
With your burden but no staff.
Love, you sojourner, is your way back.


HAIKU SERIES:  PEAR HARVEST

                   1.
Shaping a pear tree
With a bucketful of stones.
The limb breaks instead.

                   2.
Over-tightening
A new irrigation head—
Crack across the threads.

                   3.
Words bring bad weather:
Saying what I never meant,
Again and again.

                   4.
Old fruit on the ground—
A boon to autumn sparrows
In the rising wind.

                   5.
Crossing the orchard
Alone is never easy
For the dull-toothed bear.

                   6.
On this sunny day,
Can I believe in my end?
Six ripe, russet pears.


David Guterson is the author of 7 books, including the novels Snow Falling on Cedars, East of the Mountains, Our Lady of the Forest, The Other, and Ed King. His poems have appeared broadly in periodicals and journals.