Elizabeth Weaver

Last Days of Winter
War settles like dust for there is no other sidewhen winds blow particles from Sudanto Hiroshima to icy rivers that wild cohostruggle against to lay their bright eggs.
On the first day of the first war declared in this centurythe Asian Art Museum opens its doors with stilt-walkersdressed as emperors and geishas, and with musiciansfrom Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, for music and arttranscend transient politics and borders. Eventhe museum’s map of Asia’s Buddhist centersproclaims Tibet’s sovereignty within China’syawning border. Across the street a demonstrationswells before City Hall to protest a warveiled in an amalgam of virtue, misinformationand covert interests.
Something ghostlike transforms this city.While most stores close, in others clerksfocus like compulsive-obsessives justto get through the day and homelesswalk the streets as if San Francisco’ssole inhabitants. One woman, hairplaited with a plethora of mismatchedribbons mirroring her clothes, crossesagainst red. She zigzags mostly betweenthe yellow lines while drivers remainuncharacteristically patient as ifacknowledging the difficulty of acceptingwar without dissolving in a despair thatthreatens one’s ever-transientconnection with life.
Within these museum’s walls images of Buddha,Bodhisattvas, White Tara embody prayers for allsentient beings and symbolize compassion,wisdom, the acceptance of suffering, as well asour ability to skillfully control rather than becontrolled by our mad-wraith desires.It’s no longer a matter of us versus them,good versus evil. We are all messengers of Godand we are all godless. Energy is neither creatednor destroyed. All those who have lived anddon’t yet live share our bodies through the foodwe eat, the air we breathe, the cells that ferociouslyregenerate throughout our lives. Prayer wheelsfill these halls with unbound intent that passesthrough the walls, the streets, the world: may allbeings be healthy, may all beings be happy,may all beings live in peace.

Two-time semi-finalist for "Discovery"/The Nation poetry award, Elizabeth Weaver focused on poetry for her M.A., and is writing on her first novel, the main character of which has a photoblog at bonegirlpix.wordpress.com. Her writing can be read in journals and anthologies such as 5AM, RATTLE and Cezanne's Carrot.