Building the Temple

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At first, we come with black zafus and zabutons, placing them in disarray, not in the usual rectangle facing the wall. Only wind, no walls. The world doesn’t exist, except in our small minds. We wear black robes or black work clothes. The exterior bamboo walls rise by themselves. Thoughts scratched inside the hollow stems. The roof lowered; shingles layered one upon the next, obscure marks etched in overlapping layers.

People enter, and bow, robes flowing as they roll out the floor with the tips of their toes. The light wood unfurls like shavings and yet it is solid and smooth. We walk one step, one breath, the ground settles under our bare feet. A foot before and a foot behind in walking as one body. The black mats and cushions appear clean and fresh, set out in a rectangle encircling the room.

Each person in the right place and time. Just this. No desire, no decoding. We sit, facing the world.

Day 3 National Poetry Month, Prompt: write a surreal prose poem, after Franz Kafka’s short parable called Building the Temple.


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