Matthew Hamilton

Bodhisattva 1963

The road catches fire.

Black smoke

balloons over Thich Quang Duc

like a thousand hands praying.

Flames a tamed cat

crawling up quiet arms.

Lips never move.

A man photographed in ash.

The Middle-Way Approach

Every day I spin the prayer wheel.

I drink lotus water.

I shake hands with Xi Jinping.

I kneel before Buddha

in his fat asana.

I point my toes north

and march barefoot across the Great Wall.

The sun burns the wind.

Matthew Hamilton is a former Soldier, Congressional Aide, US Peace Corps Volunteer, and Benedictine Monk. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Fairfield University and is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. His stories and poems have appeared in a variety of national and international journals, including Gravel, Atticus Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Coe Magazine, Noctua Review, Burnt Bridge, Boston Literary Magazine, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and The Transnational. His chapbook, The Land of the Four Rivers, published by Cervena Barva Press, won the 2013 Best Poetry Book from Peace Corps Writers. He second poetry collection, Lips Open and Divine, will be release in 2016 by Winter Goose Publishing. Currently, Matthew is the Librarian at Benedictine College Preparatory, an all-male, Catholic Military high school in Richmond, VA.