Literally meaning
self-ablaze, it is what I experienced

standing in the riverbed of Cushman
Brook that summer of drought those

twenty-five years ago, my Labrador
standing on the banks, curiously

watching me, tilting her head side-
ways, my feet astride the dry rocky

streambed. Tzu-jan, a higher cosmic
order, wilderness ecology at its best,

burning through the true center
of being, in you, in me, in the dust,

now windblown, out across browned
meadow grasses that day I looked up,

stunned at my realization everything
perpetuated, all of it being nascent,

occurring in the moment of the ever
present now, each now anew,

refoliating as the massive winter
sycamores do each spring, branches

high above their camouflaged
bark, sprouting verdant green again,

its self ablaze throughout its height
and girth, having been replenished

by the sunlight, as the brook would be
with the hard rains later that August,

long after I would ascend its steep
slope up to where my Labrador

waited, tail wagging, our hearts set
afire with the utter rhapsody of

the single moment hovering before
us, magnificent in its splendor

within us, radiant heat emanating
from the dusty rocks and dry stones.

Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012); The Daodejing: a New Interpretation, with Breeden and Schroeder (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015); and Invocation (Lamar University Literary Press, 2015). His poems have appeared in many publications including Commonweal, North American Review, and Rattle. Garrison Keillor recently read a poem of Swist’s on The Writer’s Almanac.