On the Disastrous Art of Losing
On our first meeting, she
Described me as a “near Buddhist,”
Meaning, of course, that I had
The ascetic qualities of a monk.
And it was true that Siddhartha
Helped me lose my appreciation
For things. You learn first that
Attachment is suffering.
But Elizabeth Bishop was more
On my mind. Like her, I had
Lost things every day, and
Most of them didn’t matter.
We all get practice losing things,
Of course, and we learn it isn’t
A disaster; lives are nothing
More than crude or elegant mandalas.
Everything will be wiped away,
And there is no use torturing
Ourselves with excessive handwringing,
Longing, covetousness, or desire.
Push on, let it go, they’re only things
After all, and the universe continues
With no pause. And still, I sit
Thousands of miles away
Thinking of you.