L. Lamar Wilson
Two oceans away from this bed where I seethe,
where just one touch from my holy trinity—
mother, sun, you—eludes me, an 18-year-old
Nepalese boy with ebony waves framing his fixed face
taps faithful callers on bowed heads & supplicant palms. He
neither moans nor mumbles a word, yet each spirits away
from his feet. I just got a chance to see God! one beams.
They say he is Buddha but to me he is just God. He looks
more like you to me: the one who heard Please, don’t go!
in this bed, all night, before you left for a wilderness
I’ve never found. Maybe I’m reaching here for
the frazzled hem of your Army fatigues, to unravel
the ironies of too-perfect hair, your stoic gaze frozen
like a Daguerre we could have been, the twitching corners
of your eyes & perked ears betraying the focus on us & ours,
to muss out the how & why & what-if we never could.
The darkest hour’s just before dawn, Mama would hum
on mornings like this when daylight saving kept my beloved sun
at bay & I came crawling into Daddy’s empty space
in their bed. I was a boy longing for schoolbooks
& Bible verses to spirit me away from myself then,
from endless nights when not even her loving gaze,
her thumb stroking my forehead, could silence the rage,
the longing no god couldn’t save me from. How do you lie here
alone all night? Don’t you wish Daddy didn’t have to work?
I’d ask, my head resting in her lap. Beaming down,
she never said a word. Right now, in Nepal, scholars assure
the throng it’s not possible for this man-child to have reached
Siddhartha’s peak, that three years of meditation without food,
without touch, does not prove he is reincarnation’s gift. Yet they come
by the thousands, tarry for hours for their moment of enlightenment.
He does not look into their eyes, does not acknowledge their pleas.
From its summit, the sun shadows me in my prison.
Night soon will cover them in theirs. We kneel. We wait.
L. Lamar Wilson
Author Discusses Poems