A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2008, vol 4 no 1

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Hortensia Anderson


Burning the Bodhisattva

Having chosen a piece of wood for reasons I
cannot discern, he begins to carve. Then, he
rubs sandpaper against the grain, polishing
the sculpture to a silken finish.

At the beach, I collect stones by the sea and
create a circle. I gather driftwood and as Venus
sparks her chain reaction of stars, he unveils a
bodhisattva on her side.

We sit as the warmth of the burning woman
envelops us against a chill wind. At one point,
her tranquil lips almost seem to smile.

How did he know she had been hidden in the
wood, waiting to be freed in flames?

golden sparks
light the indigo sky –
darkness shining

*bodhisattva - one who delays nirvana until all
sentient beings are saved