Often I find myself waking in strange places—
in a neighbor’s bathtub, at the paupers’ cemetery,
on the last car of the light rail.
The doc said it comes from watching too much news—
the fragile mind can’t cope. Tonight
here I am again, alone and confused,
standing barefoot, in the heart of Phoenix,
at the Zen garden, Ro Ho En.
It’s late. There’s black tar on the bottoms of my feet—
I must have been walking for hours
with eyes wide open, seeing nothing
but this unraveling dream
tucked somewhere in between
Central and Third Ave.
The night took me to the golden Buddha
squatting on a slab of rose quartz stone.
He winks and grins at me:
nothing is lost in the universe.
Suddenly everything I thought I ever knew
is rushing at me—
It’s not the first time I’ve been taken for a fool.
My throat is dry. Sweat runs down my back.
I decide to ignore him,
focus on how I’ve always loved
the hidden places
of this city—named for a bird
which consumes itself in flames, then, rising
from its own ashes, is reborn
just to do it all again.