by Ron Yazinski
Through the orange groves, we pedal,
Past the garden where the peacocks cry because their beauty
Is such a burden;
My surgically repaired knees click,
As we puff beneath the oaks and Spanish moss
Whose shadows look like the age spots on my arms,
On towards the Buddhist Temple in Clarcona,
Where we break near the large statue of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy,
Who welcomes us with open arms.
She is the bodhisattva who hears all lamentations,
And will wrap us each in lotus leaves to bring us home to rest;
We drink a toast from our water bottles and catch our breath
And smile at the other statue of tubby saint Ho-Tai.
He sits at the temple’s entrance,
With his hands over his belly and a smile on his face,
Teasing us to rub his tummy for luck;
He’s the Buddha who’s only exercise is kindness,
Which my doctor assures me isn’t enough.