David Guterson

DHARMA BUM
Boat on the water—A treble note, fading.
In the new light, it’s clear:We’re moving toward rain.
Fallen flowers on the table—Night has laid them under.
Already I’m foolish enoughTo have hopes for the coming hours.
My morning tea’s rich,Superior to other things.
I cling to the dancersAnd the cruel remark.
I haven’t overcome the applauseOr the hearse.
My waste bin’s full of pleas.I think about my needs.
Deposited on the shore of waking, alive,A mayfly, like me, has all day.

EXITING THE BARDOS
It’s a moment of regret,Finding parents.You wake up in the old realm.
Was your will honored?Imagine all the lovers on the night in questionSeeing God on His distant shore.
You fall in. Lathered, rank with one another,Those two chuff like fish on a deckAnd return to their sheets and opened door.
Thus are you bound againWith your burden but no staff.Love, you sojourner, is your way back.

HAIKU SERIES: PEAR HARVEST
1.Shaping a pear treeWith a bucketful of stones.The limb breaks instead.

2.Over-tighteningA new irrigation head—Crack across the threads.

3.Words bring bad weather:Saying what I never meant,Again and again.

4.Old fruit on the ground—A boon to autumn sparrowsIn the rising wind.

5.Crossing the orchardAlone is never easyFor the dull-toothed bear.

6.On this sunny day,Can I believe in my end?Six ripe, russet pears.

David Guterson is the author of 7 books, including the novels Snow Falling on Cedars, East of the Mountains, Our Lady of the Forest, The Other, and Ed King. His poems have appeared broadly in periodicals and journals.