Earthquake at the Buddhist Temple

Together, we page through hard green books of verse
harvested from every worthy faith in the basement
library of the non-sectarian church my father attended

these last few years. Well-meaning, my mother,
Catholic, suggests the Our Father, but ex-wives
donít get that final say, only daughters do, however

negligent they were. I say, I donít want any Jesus
at this funeral. Itís not about Jesus, she barks
back. I guess I donít want any God then, either.

Back home, I visit for the first time a storefront temple
in my neighborhood. I thought Heíd be here, waiting,
but Heís not. Between blue walls hung with tapestries,

bell tones braiding the smell of just-split sheetrock
with nag champaís earthy smoke, our teacher helps us
meditate on Tara, mother of compassion. Shameless

opportunist of the heart, I listen for a bit of wisdom
I can wrap around my shapeless grief like a broadside
horoscope, a paper fortune. I doubt Iíll be forgiven.

When the first shock rolls through our unsilent city
I know what weíre all thinking: dumptruck, pothole,
until it surrounds us, shaking the temple without fury

or violence, like a dollís house rolled over concrete
in the bed of a little red wagon, summoning that breath-
held moment, as when, just before falling, everything

stops, the bicycle tilted at an impossible angle, or
the tension between foot and stair just about to break,
the inevitable ground before us not yet contended with.

Clare Marie Myers holds an MA in Poetry and is slowly wending her way through an MFA in Fiction, both from San Francisco State University. In 2007, she was awarded SFSU's William Dickey Fellowship in Poetry. Her work has recently appeared in ZYZZYVA. (cmmyers@gmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761