He ran a Buddhist temple near Podunk
that sheltered behind centuries-old books--
cactus and dust in the yard—perfect junk
keeping watch while he sat not so still.
Old bicycle wheels, clothed in mantras, took
his sad desires past dawn off to cold hills.
A lost coyote nudged his crumbled bones
and the hungry ghost finally left the place.
He looked back at painted sand and long dunes
before stepping off the planet. His smile
didn’t show. The desert cheered his escape.
His shrine dissolved into the night-cold wild.
His head, balanced
on a bottle of wine,
throbbing like a lighthouse,
is hidden by a fake hat.
Rain, nail stiff,
drums down on
his wounded head,
sheltered by a raked hat.
After dark he tips
his weak head
into the open oven
and greets his baked hat.
The janitors in hell
always miss just one spot
on the Inferno’s hot doors.
That is the punishment
for a perfectionist.