Amida Butsu

by Wendy Taylor

(the Jodo Mission, Lahaina, Maui)

What is it about the pink lotus flower
placed at the crossed legs & flat open hands,
gentle in the lap of the bronzed Buddha,
that provokes children to throw pebbles
at Amida’s stretched ear lobes? The neon
reflection of the Jesus Coming Soon sign
above the Apostolic Faith Church
on the road to the temple? Or Sunday
school lessons?: you shall have no other gods
before me. Sacred grounds shrouded serene
in meditation, an Om, the bent bonsai,
and eleven nightly tolls of the oceanside bell
guide seekers of longevity, rebirth. You will dwell
in the house of the Lord forever, the verse your
children know so well, while we know nothing
of the towering pagoda & its enshrinements
enlightened under copper-plated rooftops. Nearby,
on the beach at Puʻupiha Cemetery, corpses lie
tranquil beneath sand dunes, their tombstones
crooked, offset in the red sunset like fire waves,
as roosters scavenge visitors’ bento box remains.
If each grain of rice is a soul, each grain of sand
a soul within a bursting universe. Children obey
your parents: our father leads us to the offering
box, hands us each two dollars & says, Here’s some
money for the upkeep of the grounds. Don’t throw
rocks at the statue. Amen.


Wendy Taylor is a poet whose work has been published in New Ohio Review. She holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte. Her writing has been featured at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference in Ogden, Utah and has won scholarships and awards from the College of Southern Idaho and Southern New Hampshire University. She has taught creative writing and French and has worked as an editor. Formerly a punk rock bass player from Southern California, Wendy currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry

One response to “Amida Butsu

  1. Sara Denick

    Absolutely beautiful!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s