“The Chubby Buddhist Monk of Trout Lake Abbey” by Tricia Knoll, published in Broadfork Farm, released in July 2017 by The Poetry Box.
The Chubby Buddhist Monk of Trout Lake Abbey
His abbey sits in fields of echinacea and lavender
beyond the llama pasture, surrounded in sunfl owers.
The summer winds stir a dozen temple bells.
He wears robes of brown and melon orange,
grows huge helianthus, nurtures barn bats, tends
a garden of one hundred Buddhas.
Kozen, the man, trains his rollicking mutts.
He stopped in the small town across the Columbia
to let them sniff and express dog-nature
when a man assaulted him screaming epithets
against Muslims, cut his face, kicked his car door
and fled. A hate crime on the police sheet.
Kozen to the TV camera: You are completely forgiven.
The Buddha tells us all of our suffering
comes from anger, desire and ignorance.
At home, prayer wheels and wind chimes
play in limbs of trees near the end of their time.
Long grasses in the mountain’s breath.