Buddha’s Garden

by Ilyse Kusnetz

In 1586, Hideyoshi
peasant ruler of Japan,
ordered the nation’s swords

be melted down.
He used the metal
to construct a Buddha

the size of the Jade Palace.
For seven years, 50,000
artists labored to build it.

Ten years after completion
a great earthquake
razed the statue, leaving

no trace of its existence.
War, too, is like this –
a vast, tectonic violence

swallowing our hope.
But who are we
to question the possibility

of miracles, when lying
fallow for centuries
a lotus seed may, without

warning, germinate.
Buddha teaches us patience.
Do you doubt this?

The seed of an Arctic lupine
frozen 10,000 years
when planted, still grows.


Ilyse Kusnetz is the author of a chapbook, The Gravity of Falling, and her poems have been published in such journals as Rattle, The Atlanta Review, Crazyhorse, Poet Lore, the Cimarron Review and Poetry Review. She received her MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. She teaches English and creative writing at Valencia Community College.