I walk in the monastery garden.
The ground is cloaked in autumn leaves
of umber, red, and yellow
in manicured groupings,
offerings that lead to the chapel.
A sky-grey colored stone,
with stripes of California jade,
smooth, rounded like our planet,
sits on one of the small mounds
gathered by the speechless monks.
Who would have thought a stone of
such unbending hardness
could be a guide to this place
where I am witness to my heartbeat
thrumming through the air.
Like the stone, there are no sharp edges
to this silence,
cleansing and washing
all sounds that wrap this
perfect small universe.
I can see the Pacific Ocean
beneath the cliffs.
Waves ferociously attack
the coast line churning up froth.
No sound travels up.
The absence of noise
gently laps over me.
It graces my soul,
embraces me, welcomes me,
and gives me refuge.
Elise Shabas Kazanjian is neither 14 or 25 years old, but is happy she is not drooling. . . yet. She is a San Francisco poet/writer who spent the first decade of her life in Tian Jin, China where her father managed an American rug factory. She has worked at Sunset Magazine, as the Foreign Editor at CCTV in BeiJing, China, as administrator for August Coppola’s Audio Vision Project at SF State University, and as a pawnbroker. Her poems have appeared in anthologies and journals including Poets Eleven, New Millennium Writings, and A Kind of Hurricane Press.