Five Household Statues of Buddha

By Dick Allen

The bronze Buddha in our living room,
his eyes closed, his hands resting comfortably
against his inside thighs—
what does he mean to tell me about the river heron?

And the green sleeping Buddha
stretched out upon his side along our poetry bookcase,
serene as a watch fob in his stylized pose—
what is he saying about the price of all good things?

What is the black Buddha saying,
sitting on the mantelpiece
as if on a lotus? If you would not suffer,
you must not desire?

And the small Tara Buddha
who looks upon the road outside
from the windowsill perch she shares with both our cats—
is she so content I cannot learn from her?

Lastly, the happiness Buddha,
late of China, his round gold stomach glistening
under my fading light—
shall I not trust him to laugh my life into his?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2006/12/five-household-statues-of-buddha/305393/