Vox Populi

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Peter Schireson: Last Night in the Freshness that Followed a Summer Rain

Last night in the freshness that followed a summer rain, 

I sat for an hour on a bench in the park, 

alone, reading the paper, unnoticed, ticking inside the words. 


An old woman walked by with her rawboned mutt, 

a young couple strolled by arm in arm, 

laughing as if they were gardenias. 


And our history drifted along behind them—

early hunger, nights I watched you sleep, 

days I followed you around like a duck.


How we looked into each other, 

how we danced through vampire nightclubs, 

our intentions green and full of desire, 


the music thick as smoke, and a nearness, as if everything was listening.

Sitting there, I watched my mind: one moment, alone on the bench, 

moon shimmering in a white bowl, in the next beside you in bed—


a parallel universe, dream within a dream, watching your body break 

out in wings, lifting you over grand, leafy neighborhoods, over sodden

streets with boarded-up stores, over suburban picnics with skateboarding

dogs, over a sole survivor at sea, agape, waving up from his lifeboat.

Peter Schireson is an ordained Zen Buddhist priest and dharma lineage holder, having trained in both the U.S. and Japan. 

Copyright 2020 Peter Schireson

2 comments on “Peter Schireson: Last Night in the Freshness that Followed a Summer Rain

  1. Barbara Huntington
    June 16, 2020

    Beautiful. Like Gardenias. And memory brings up scent and velvet softness and hurt and happiness. Thank you.


  2. Jose Alcantara
    June 16, 2020

    After so much COVID and brutality lately, how refreshing to read this. Thank you.


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