Like my neighbor Berta Alemán has taught me,
one way to meditate
is to hold a water hose in your hand.
Paradise is right around the corner.
But you should not expect too much progress at first.
There is plenty to do, standing there,
watering the lawn.
It could be a Wednesday night,
maybe right before September, right before
the kids go back to school.
Some times you hate them.
They don’t listen.
That’s okay.
You might even be out of milk.
There’s plenty of time for milk and kids.
You are outside now.
That’s what counts.
Like it’s a real hot night, hotter than usual,
a good night to water the backyard,
it’s been so scraggly lately,
especially in spots.
You maybe think that you have forgotten so much
this last month, this stretch
of the summer which seems so much like waiting.
This is okay too.
This is the physiology of the summer,
the way it insists that all is not done,
will never be,
the autumn and the winter comes,
over and over,
a snake with its goddamn tail stuck in its mouth.
So forgive yourself.
This is essential to the act of meditation.
You must remember you are watering the yard.
That is all you are doing.
Stand out there,
your left hand on your hip
in perfect repose, your right hand
carefully, gently,
grasping the water hose.
Be careful to watch the spray of the water
shine in the light of the full moon.
The water is perfect.
The moon is also perfect.
As is the grass, even if it is dying.
Your back should be straight,
but at ease
so that you can drink in the darkness of the night
without worrying about tomorrow.
If you are a man, you might want to
scratch your nuts, cradling them,
or if you are a woman,
shake your hips back and forth
Whatever, the purpose is
to feel the sex of who you are.
You might hum a tune,
some sort of nursery rhyme
like you heard growing up
wherever that was.
It was a long time ago.
Your mother was so beautiful.
You can finally understand that now.
Stretch your legs.
Rock your body back and forth.
But concentrate on the water.
Be grateful.
Life is not what you imagined.
You have friends that have better,
others that have worse,
still others who are dead.
Breathe in and breathe out.
Maybe your lover is inside.
It will be a good night for love-making,
so warm and fine,
the drone of the swamp cooler
so the kids won’t hear.
The bright moon.
You can tell your lover
about standing here in the moonlight
watering the yard.
But there is time before that.
You should think about your children again,
their bodies,
how they have changed
since they first squirmed through the door of flesh,
and your parents too
who are close to their death,
waiting to take the other journey.
So this is what life has been about.
It may seem so right now,
so clear,
to come to this point
and to think that a certain spot in the grass
has been dry for too long.
You have forgotten some things.
You have remembered others.
You have come this far.
Before you go back inside
be certain that the grass is watered completely.