Living by Vow

Pressing fingertips together, I wonder:
What blessing am I asking for? To whom am I shriven?
Where is the holy in these chewed fingernails,
Those faint trails on my palm that lead to no shrine?
And what is the truth in this psalm of mine?
Out the window, tree skeletons press against the sky,
The night comes so quiet. And is the One who willed the quiet
The One I make promises to now, my bare bowed head 
Chanting the Four Vows of the Bodhisattva:
Endless delusions to end, numberless beings to free,
Boundless gates to open, becoming “enlightened,”
Such a flowery word, sopped with perfume,
It makes me laugh at myself, 
Mouthing my solemn, impossible oaths
As the bared bones of the trees dissolve in black. 
I bow, tipping myself forward like a cursed pitcher,
Pouring into the night all of my doubt, my self-parody, 
My endless questioning of my own chosen truth,
And yet I affirm it again. Then sit in silence.
Then wash the dirty dishes in the sink.
The most honest vow I know is from Genesis:
And there was evening and there was morning,
Another day.

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