Postcards to Samsara

by Lois P. Jones
First Place, March 2014
Judged by Robert Lee Brewer


he kept painting the planets
formed the moon from a ball
of wax and hung it without a wick
positioned a star with enough distance
into the past it reached the future


this glow which died light years ago
finds him the way a mirror reflects
from a wreck
at the bottom of an ocean
the way death draws a map
he must follow


he kneels on the red woven mat
to balance perspective
while one hand tips
a brush to canvas
the dish of dark water
keeps a galaxy within time
his journal in search of a voice
a bonsai tree whose shadow
is an inkwell


Perhaps Eve loved Adam
so much she gave away
all her memories
resigned herself to samsara
as if ignorance were a flood
a way to drown the animal
there are no flaming swords
guarding the gate
there’s only me
trying to uncover our Eden
so much of us left
like lodestone in the earth
after all
I asked to be hungry
you consented to be tasted

I love the idea of a poem comprised of postcards, and there's enough substance in the poem that I don't need to know anything about "samsara" to enjoy the poem. Each section is a poem worth reading, and the final two lines are, for me anyway, what poetry is all about--that primal connection between writer and audience. I've read this poem so many times already and will continue to do so. --Robert Lee Brewer