Tears fall upon the lotus
growing near the red water.
A robed figure walks the
dirt path from the bay
carrying a full bucket
not one drop is spilled
as they descend a hill
leading to the monastery.
Trees give up their leaves
to the earth, the earth
gives the leaves to animals,
what is left goes to the
insects and back to the earth.
In the evening the doors close
while they prepare an offering
for the forest and a meal for
themselves and guests.
Travellers pass the simple iron gates daily
while a few will enter.
The road leads through a pine forest,
an empty field, before passing the gardens.
Many people are hunched over
or carrying vegetables to wagons.
The sun is hot and the sky is clear
the wind is calm and the tress are tall.
I stop and watch a woman leading a child
toward a field of carrots or potatoes.
A man went and joined them and together
they pulled food from the earth.
I continued past the gardens until
I reached the front of a large
building surrounded by white magnolias
and purple flowers I did not recognize.
The doors opened with no hesitations and
no questions asked of my bare feet,
scars across my back and holes in my hands.