Adam Lowis | Of Saints and Serpentine Pilgrims, Part 1

The saintly Lamas have said,
“Love every being as though it were your mother in a past life.”
From behind gregarious smiles
come such directives,
as if they were as easy as tying a simple knot.

Tell me rinpoche, sunim, cifu, Roshi, Shantideva or
Lord with your hand to witnessing earth,
What is one to do when mother was a snake
laying bare the nest to unlikely predators,
blind to healing and her polished secrets reflecting a veneer,
but no substitute for light?

When sad eyes disaffected nourished their
scared isolation at the expense of her writhing offspring.
When the thermometer stood as the imposter of affection?
Where do these serpentine pilgrims find their mothers?
As they writhe upon the face of the rocks
harvesting the skins of their molt to burn as smudges
into the rubbing ash
of their initiation upon charnel grounds.

When a sky of scavengers was laid bare
to her eggs as she busied herself
to a presence felt with an onus never witnessed
never substantiated,
or even a hint as obviated as the flesh and blood staring her in the face!

She was a snake in a brood of puffed-up doves
with feathers radiant white, with bellies fouled as rats.

He was the horned one himself whose oats were never close
to the belt.
Scattering in the explosion like seeds in the dry and burning harvest,
who never looked inward as he wore his intelligence
upon the cusp of his erection.

Whose own children imprinted on fading negatives
were too close for light to find his ample reflection.

From their union come those who burn
but who cannot gamble upon a smile’s swindle,
nor upon love’s warm deception.

There are no angels,
but only sultry monsters of
lips and slippery silks,
when a wanton surfeit of
nights disappearing like alchemy powders,
burn the firecracker,
pace-setting memories of their own rhythms,
and standard colors borne
and leave the serpentine pilgrim,
breathing still,
yet again,
hours pass with no movement,
under frost-laden rocks
in the morning,
before the light of dawn.

© 2013 Adam Lowis

The Big Windows Review 5 (Fall 2013)

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