The point of practice is to avoid fooling yourself.
It is not that I am in love.
It’s just that the aspen leaves really do
look like ten thousand suns hung
on the limbs of every tree,
and the air really does smell sweet,
not floral, but a deeper sweetness
that comes as things grow old.
And the wind really does caress
the skin as if it’s a tenderest hand.
And the smile on my face is even wider
inside where no one can see. All
the small mouths on each cell of my body
are praising today—though I am
caught up in the same tangle
of shoulds and to dos and musts
as I was yesterday and the day before.
And I know the leaves will fall. They
are falling even now. It’s not
that I am in love, though that is true.
The day simply is a miracle, opening
like a gate, like a hand, like a mind.
And when Miss Lackey says, “Children,
this is so sad, someone
left the lid off of the marker,
and we know how valuable they are,”
Rumi raises his hand and says,
“September is a time for death,
do you think death is a bad thing?”
And Miss Lackey tips her head
in an inquisitive way, as she does,
and then kneels down close to him.
“Did you do it?” Miss Lackey asks Rumi.
“Did you leave the lid off the black pen?”
He smiles. “Your task is not to seek
for who has done what, rather to find
all the walls you have built around the way
you think things should be.”
Miss Lackey gives him a lopsided smile.
“Rumi, do you mean me?”
She sends the rest of the kids to recess.
Meanwhile Rumi sits in his chair.
“You’re a funny one Rumi,”
Miss Lackey says. “I’m a fool,”
he says, jumps on the table
and starts to spin. “Five more minutes,”
says Miss Lackey. And Rumi grins.
You are the path and you are the field
beside the path, you are the leaf
and the flutter.
You in the gaps, in the moonless night.
You even where I can’t find you.
so little of the companionship of poets