This is what happens to God’s thoughts
as they become more secular,
for uncounted ages a white mass
of seething cottage cheese
expanding over the lovely altiplano
and doing exactly what it has to do
entirely happy with itself,
until reaching the edge of the table
gobs of it begin falling off,
dropping there, the hills of Barstow, California,
beside the rusted railroad
along the sandy river,
the sulfurous curd
of its own permanent sunset.
And the people living there now?
They have a vague memory
from childhood of once having escaped from the circus.
If you ask them, they won’t say
that the Great Buddha himself sometimes hurried,
but as they stand there thinking about it
you can see the possibility
quivering on their lips.
(published in Permafrost, vol. 17, 1995)