no one can tell when the end comes

On quieter days
      the train can be heard from the terrace

the gong of the bell from the temple
travels to the after-life of the dead

when the machine is rested
certain gears function
                     for a while

no one can tell when the end comes

What is dear finds way to the brewing pot
odd leaves piled on the grass
the browned jasmines
rose petals still secreting the perfume

When you push open the door, angle the body
to the energy that inhabits a room

Do not coax the birds a minute longer
                                          to stay in the tree  
or a mollusk to lock the plasma in a shell

On an otherwise mundane afternoon, my son calls to say
his friend’s father died

Why, only yesterday he told me of the team lunch
the friend’s lactose intolerance
among other things

My mind makes the adjustment to accommodate
the new information of the young man I have not met
the father I will never meet

I touch the space of existence –
the space inside the shell where existence is a plasma of nothingness

no one can tell when the end comes

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