Emulating the Bodhisattva

For Dyami, drowned off Gay Head, age 15


By Lee H. McCormack

To have nothing, or desire it to be, or to be in a place

where nothing is, is the game of blind old monks.

How some friends and family come

to a similar understanding is deceptive —

they astonish us with the ability

to overcome motion, disappear completely,

and even our sadness doesn’t stop transparencies

of skin from lighting up their hands and faces

like Chinese paper lanterns. Brighter

to children than they are to us

the shape of lanterns doesn’t change,

nor the quality of light and skin,

but after awhile the faces dim, and the hands

are really our hands, not theirs.

Light from a human body at its end is a liquid

that can’t be spilled or wiped off.

These things we do to each other, that help us

become each other, resurrects the light

of motions made as family, friends and lovers.

What’s amazing is the way we keep on glowing

afterwards, like the juice of lightning bugs

we used to rub across our skin, crushing them

against the back of our hands until

we glowed, roughly, Buddha-like, old, dim,

attaining nothing except the light

fading quietly in the dark.

A resident of the dank and moldy primal forests of West Tisbury for over 30 years, Lee H. McCormack has been occasionally reported as actually being seen alive, usually from a great distance through high-octane vision-magnifying devices.