Meant to soothe, the errant water distracts,
signaling Look! Go! in Morse code flashing
from its surface as we stand in Mountain,
fold, step back, and hold Low Lunge,
squinting toward shimmer and momentum.
It’s no holy Ganges flowing past Union Point,
though this river’s two million years old, they say.
So much story streaming past, beckoning.

Nor are we adept at non-attachment.
In striving for non-striving
we settle for stretching and inhaling
the river’s tannic breath, its endurance.
There is no pose, as far as I know,
named, in Sanskrit, “River.”
We are Bridges, we are Boats, we are Fishes—
borrowing; over and under; never of.

This gazebo sheltering our practice,
all octagonal lid and lattice, letting in
the breeze, is complete,
unlike a house would be without its walls.
Even in winter my mother closed the vent,
cracked the window open for fresh air
for her children buried in wool blankets.
This remains my habit, over 50 years….

The teacher says,
“Observe the thought. Then let it float away,”
prompting outcry from skeptical gulls
gathered in nonchalant caucus on the grass,
absorbing from morning breeze
and our one shared star
absolutely every warm caress
that their feathered, scavenging hearts can hold.