Poetry / March 2016 (Issue 31)

Who Was Your First Love?

by Luisa A. Igloria

a first grader asks the Buddha in the informal Q & A
at the elementary school where he is making a visit.
The homeroom teacher turns to admonish this foolishness
and a ripple of laughter goes through the audience,
but the Buddha raises his hand gently and smiles at the boy.
The question has brought him back not to the day of his betrothal
nor even to his wedding, but to a brief moment one morning —
After long illness and sleepless nights fraught with care
and worry, how he and his love held each other in the middle
of the room, not raked by tumultuous desire, not grasping;
eyes speaking, just breathing. Who was the first to break
the silence, to say May we be blessed to live longer
with each other?
For everything is a gift, he says
to the gathering: the first phoebe of spring, a torn
strip of clothing that reddens the branch on which
it has caught; the face light etches on a plate of metal
looking back at you at last, as if it had traveled
an eternity just to give you this greeting, this welcome.
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