Dharma Talk

Ariel Kusby

While he spoke about the circumnavigation of souls

Through the earthly plane and the quest to forsake dukkha

And self for bliss, I watched his lips come together and apart.

Before “me” they became structures of protons and quarks

And words were aural frequencies imparting the unrealest real


And I pictured him back then, as a soldier dead and rotting

In foreign mud. I saw a Pekinese dog

Resting on a rug, a hunter unaccompanied, a hysteric

Locked up twice with the voices of him and the voices of them,

A Kenyan girl walking step by step through the manyatta in heat,

A messenger, a moth. The ghosts he’d been and seen while taking his turn

Again and again, the baby traumatized by light, the grandmother

In her bed, the golden touch, The Arctic Tern,

The widow, me, you, the Sea-worlded mammal

And the one still “free,” the medicine man, the vicar standing

Before them all, the monk who sat and spoke with us

And chanted to our breath.


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