To The Holy Man In The Square
by John Grey

A blue pheasant
alights on a branch,
a halo for a Bodhisattva
who's displaying,
on his fingertip,
a black-bodied butterfly.

A crowd gathers.
They're not there
to beg or persuade,
just villagers, a tourist or two,
drawn like brown-skinned moths
to Buddha's flame.

Pagan chickens
chatter and feed
but elephants stand stoically.
And a buzzard,
stretched to soar,
is convinced enough
to remain grounded.

There's something about
palms lifted up.
And a bare yellow abdomen.
Woven gray hair.
And a chant addressed
to a butterfly.

Women put aside their rice-buying
Men take pause
from evaluating
decorative knives.
An American couple
are distracted from their
pursuit of trinkets.
Even children,
break from play,
look about for a fingertip
to be lifted upon.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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