David Sullivan

God comes to us in many forms

This unfinished Xitan temple, speckled
with the slow rolling drum of rain, slick
with new red lacquer, emitting
the deep-grained smell
of resiny varnish, full of
a cadre of workers:
some hand-adze beams,
others pull rope-tightened saws through planks,
while—with much gesturing and discussion—
another group pieces together Guanyin’s statue
in the main hall where all her body parts
are spread out, six-foot head a hollow cavity,
sanded butterfly joints that marry wood to
wood still exposed—
I can’t be the only one
who wants this to be Buddhism—
prayers
to be the worker’s playful jibes and banter,
offerings
to be fragrant wood shavings
and cigarette smoke in the cool wet air.


David Allen Sullivan’s books include: Strong-Armed Angels, Every Seed of the Pomegranate, a book of co-translation with Abbas Kadhim from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, and Black Ice. He won the Mary Ballard Chapbook poetry prize for Take Wing, and his book of poems about the year he spent as a Fulbright lecturer in China, Seed Shell Ash, is forthcoming from Salmon Press. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his family. His poetry website is: https://dasulliv1.wixsite.com/website-1, a modern Chinese co-translation project is at: https://dasulliv1.wixsite.com/website-trans, and a call for poetry about the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel for an anthology he’s editing with his art historian mother is at: https://dasulliv1.wixsite.com/website.

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