“Praise” – poem by Luke Fraser


poem by Luke Fraser

The candle’s flame licks
the thin cracks
around the Buddha’s face.

On his cheek the light shines
through his gouged palm
where the bullet left its wound.

While the logs of his sanctuary crumble
and the bamboo shoots reclaim his holy land,
he sits. Waits. Prays.

Behind the stone eye-lids
he dreams of tangerine pandas
of black and white giraffes
of hairless apes.

The ash-covered Buddha is mistaken
for game.
He is shot.

Again, he wakes.
Again, he turns to hold up his hand.
He is dead.

The molten wax snuffs out the flame
as the wick runs short.
Even in darkness,
the Buddha knows to sit. Wait. Praise.