Siddhartha and Me

Siddhartha under the Bo tree

sits, kills desire, finds

the middle way.


Yesterday, a 9-month-old

pup bit my son above the ankle,

tugged at his pants, knocked him down.

My wife, hearing his screams,

chased the dog away, held my son

as he sobbed high breaths of air.


Today my father pulled 20 pages

from a manila folder, certified delivery;

a lawsuit filed by a crippled man

claiming discrimination

because the cheesecake shop my father owns

has a two-inch concrete lip before the door.


Siddhartha saw the five daughters of Mala,

an army of demons shooting flaming arrows,

his own shadow self offering him praise;

he saw through these attacks,

knew them to be illusion,

knew the spirit to be inviolable

and compassion the only rock

on which to build belief.


And now Siddhartha sits

under the Bo tree

promising Nirvana

enlightenment, the dharma

to my father, my son,

and my holy self.


All we have to do

is believe.


Lord I believe.

Help thou my unbelief.


by Paul Totah


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