Though our bodies have sometimes felt like sources of weakness during this pandemic, they are yet the temple of the soul. In this poem, published today in Poetry and COVID, I explore just that.
There is no need for temples … Our own brain, our own heart is our temple.
—H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama
Today the temple went to the post office.
Of course it wore its mask. There,
it met several other temples, also masked,
some of them in a hurry as temples sometimes are.
The temples joked with each other
about haircuts and lost keys and ripped old shirts.
All day—while working on the computer,
while making macaroni and cheese,
while taking out the cat litter and feeding the fish—
the temple managed to forget its own temple-ness
and the temple-ness of others
until finally, while weeding milk thistle in the garden,
a bell did not ring and a clarity came—
a brief brush with infinity that lasted a millionth of a second,
and there between the beets and the sunflowers,
was a moment when the temple was temple.
How quickly a thought comes in. Even now the temple
wrestles with its own metaphor, tries to discern its mystery
by disassembling itself into piles of knowable parts—
bricks of meaning, tiles of purpose—that, huh,
somehow, when deconstructed, don’t resemble a temple at all.