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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, March 2, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I was reading Suzuki Roshi and enticed by the idea of boundless, generative emptiness. Here’s Suzuki Roshi: ‘Sometimes a flash will come through a dark sky...The sky is never surprised when all of a sudden a thunderbolt breaks through. And when lightning does flash, a wonderful sight may be seen. When we have emptiness, we are always prepared for watching the flashing.’”
—Brynn Saito

How to Prepare the Mind for Lightning

In the recesses of the woman’s mind
           there is a warehouse. The warehouse
                      is covered with wisteria. The wisteria wonders

what it is doing in the mind of the woman.
           The woman wonders too.
                     The river is raw tonight. The river is a calling

aching with want. The woman walks towards it
           her arms unimpaired and coated
                     with moonlight. The wisteria wants the river.

It also wants the warehouse in the mind
           of the woman, wants to remain in the ruins
                     though water is another kind of original ruin

determined in its structure and unpredictable.
           The woman unlaces the light across her body.
                     She wades through the river while the twining
                              wisteria

bleeds from her mouth, her eyes, her wrist-veins,
           her heart valve, her heart. The garden again
                     overgrows the body—called by the water

and carried by the woman to the wanting river.
           When she bleeds the wisteria, the warehouse
                     in her mind is free and empty and the source

of all emptiness. It is free to house the night sky.
           It is free like the woman to hold nothing
                     but the boundless, empty, unimaginable dark.
 

Copyright © 2016 Brynn Saito. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2016 Brynn Saito. Used with permission of the author.

Brynn Saito

Brynn Saito

Brynn Saito is the author of  Power Made Us Swoon (Red Hen Press, 2016).

by this poet

poem

I bathe my television    in total attention    I give it my corneas
I give it my eardrums    I give it my longing
In return I get pictures      of girls fighting    and men flying
and women in big houses    with tight faces    blotting down tears
with tiny knuckles    Sometimes my mother calls