gold buddha statue near brown tree

The Gold Painted Buddha and the Mooncakes

She was in her 60s, reduced and faded
Drunkenly standing, hands against the
Plate glass window, dangerously leaning,
Berating the plastic buddha who serenely
Sat unhearing, in the window of the 
Shanghai Bazaar, speaking tumbling
Words I couldn't understand 
Beyond the fact she was not happy
With Buddha at all. 
I wondered if she was protesting her
Loss of beauty, the greying of her hair, 
The thickening of her waist, once 
Admired by men who see the body
Before they consider the soul.
I thought about joining her
Shouting at Buddha's customer
Representative that I did not approve
Of all the hurt and suffering
The threats and lack of healing
The loss and the fury and the 
Masculine torturing, the dirtying up
Of everything pure, the death of
Good and the rise, once again, 
Of evil and all those who do it
Against others. 
I wanted to lay my hands against
Fragile cold glass next to her and wail
About the unfairness of a world that
Could not give a flying fuck
About fair, or kind, or free,
Or young, or old....or me. 
Buddha, mushroom-wise, turned
His sprayed gold head, his ears
Dangling like Ebisu, lucky in the wind,
Regarded me coldly, coughed the 
Spray paint out of his lungs
And shook his head. 
"The Eastern Bakery has no
Winter melon, two yolk mooncakes
Left to buy today. It is all she desires
In this world. They have also sold out
Of the no yolk black bean type
Which are not her favorite, but will
Do when there are no winter melon
Two yolk mooncakes left. She is drunk
And her stomach hurts and nothing 
Else will do. She blames me for bringing
So much prosperity and success to 
Chinatown.  
If there were not so many
Tourists then there would be a mooncake
Left for her at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon."
He went back to staring placidly at the 
Woman, still standing with her hands
On the window, tears running down her 
Face, and hitting the sidewalk creating tiny
Clean salty splashes in the dust and the dirt. 
"It is not the mooncake that she wants.
She wants an August day in 1982
When the children were small
And she baked winter melon
Two yolk mooncakes and they ate
Them greedily, licking their
Burning fingertips and planting
Greasy kisses on her cheek and
Telling her that she was the 
Center of their world."
I crossed the road, unable to 
Listen to the woman crying over
Mooncakes and time, and the 
Buddha of Good Fortune
Listening unable to offer
Nirvana, or baked goods,
But knowing that everything 
Ends in suffering in the end. 

11 Comments

  1. RG Mara

    Oh my this is spectacular! “The thickening of her waist, once
    Admired by men who see the body
    Before they consider the soul” made me swoon. You are an exceptional writer!

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