Garden Sutra


Garden Sutra


When the disciple is ready, the master appears.

In extreme cases, disguised as a garden—

overgrown, inherited from a previous tenant

with a passion for wild vines and grasses

that spread until everything is lost in one

spectacular tangle, a few pale blossoms dangling


from exhausted stems. She thought of hiring

a gardener—one of the sturdy Guatemalans

who waited every morning near the on-ramp,

but she kept putting it off, consumed with digging

in the cool loam at the center of her chest, digging

for traces of what the Stranger planted there in the dark.


She was taken by the man in the New Yorker story

who went blind in his forties and slowly sank

into what he called deep blindness: the long slow


meltdown of inner images into cloudless sky.

She went with him all the way back to the clean

blank slate and its sudden unexpected turn,


the quick-change of engine for caboose, cause

for effect, so that life’s train sped backward, the end

of every story becoming the way it begins.


That’s when she saw it was the flutter of sycamore leaves

that invited the wind, the sky’s turn to indigo and

the air’s slow cooling that released the sun to set.


The late-summer dahlias were what called her hands,

wrist-deep, into June’s jungle of roots.

Because the delphiniums were soul-searing blue,


she dug a hole. Because she was overcome

with joy, he loved her like no one else. Because

she was drenched with loss, he disappeared.


~ from the Chapbook Garden Sutra

& the full-length collection: CALL FROM PARIS by Prartho Sereno

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