That whole afternoon
in Nashville of all places
we watch Tibetan monks create a sand mandala,
grain by richly colored grain,
silent and precise.

We are entranced.
Now and then our hands meet
or our eyes.
We know that we are caught
in something holy.
They work for seven days
and nights.

We return to see it finished,
stunning in its intricate detail,
each nook and hue and border
meaning something else.

When the monks begin to chant
it is a song like frogs and cellos
and night wind,
a sound that moves right through
the hollow reeds
our bodies have become.

Then they wreck it,
stir it up, undone.

The round monk
with the kindest eyes
hands me a tiny bag of sand.
"Release it into moving water
for the healing of the world."
He bows away.

I am not good at this.
I spill a bit of it at Easter
into Gooseberry
and let some go in August
up at Grand Marais,
the waves applauding at my feet.

But I hold back
and now a year has galloped past
and I still hoard
this tablespoon of sand.
I cannot open up my hands

I am unshakably attached,
to limbs and rocks
and to the first shy eyes
of flowers in the spring,
to people's voices
and their hands.

To the particular loveliness
of each small thing ...
this tiny bowl of colored sand,
this deep blue mug,
this afghan Nana knit,
Joel's body in this bed.

-- Deb Cooper

Send Comments to Greg Gordon MD, CFI, cydoc@earthlink.net
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