Snail on Ripe Tomato

A garden snail on a ripe tomato
Was trailing its wet love
Along the seam of its feeding,
Absorbing what absorbs,
Slime and pulp merged,
The long slow contraction
Before the love dart’s fired,
Snail muscle mounting,
Pouring out of its shell,
Surging to be all surface
That swarms and liquefies.
Not a pest but a guest
To the best of my garden,
To my reservoirs of red rain
Swollen to bursting
Where the snail drinks the sun
From the inside out
And the earth is whole.

Authentic Zen Garden

Stuck behind a combine harvester on a county road, strangely I see one of those tiered pagoda rooftops you see in pictures of Japan. Above a cedar fence I see cherry trees in bloom. My mind does a double take. It looks idyllic. The sign reads: Authentic Zen Garden.

After the day I’ve had an hour of inner peace is exactly what I need. I pull into the driveway, but walking to the office door I begin to hear a man shouting in mixed English and Japanese. I hesitate at the door. The man is enraged, quite literally screaming into his phone. I know what to do when a Catholic is angry. What do you do when a Buddhist is losing it?

I back onto the road and drive off. The farther away from the Zen garden, the more at peace I begin to feel. Glancing up I am struck by the light and stillness of the clouds, like stones in the garden of the sky.