an apostate visits the temple of buddha :: brad rose

A murmur flowing out into the black bay of night,
where the stars bob, tiny, glittering boats,
adrift, anchorless.
When I peer up, through the perfumed smoke,
past the god’s rolling belly, smooth as soap,
up into his oblivious face, with its once-painted eyes,
and his indifference to sin,
he seems to exhale, ‘good luck,’
not cynically, but as if he really means it.
When I look down at the temple floor,
its stone worn talc-smooth by supplication,
I can see that I’ve kneeled here
through one too many lives.

From the Boston Literary Magazine, Summer 2009