Caroline Reddy

Blinking Orbs

I awakened from resting in child’s pose

for I couldn’t digest 

the silence any longer. 

 

The beige couch 

was stained with heavy sighs 

that had become 

the only sound of comfort 

when the world had shut down. 

 

I followed a trail of online experiences

as Cyberspace 

became an infinite web of longing

and belonging: 

 

tiny blinking orbs 

began to illuminate the cords 

of Indra’s net 

as the veil between dimensions 

continues to become thin 

and transparent. 

 

Through the internet 

I internalized some of that blaze 

to disperse the Small me 

and expanded towards 

the Amalfi coast of Italy 

and the Northern lights of Iceland. 

 

The orbs summoned me 

to collect the shards 

as the tarot spread 

brought forth the tower 

and swept will-o'-the-wisp 

out of the chat box. 

I met you all then: 

 

the singer who sings in Farsi 

the sensei who taught me during his tour,

the yoga teacher whose dachshunds makes

my face crinkle out a smile,

when I want to cry. 

 

I pushed past my collapse 

as I dreamt of the breath of fire

igniting life underneath the tired

flesh. 

 

I return— 

to the lights of the city stores,

and the hum of copy machines,

for I own fairy lights now 

that can link me 

into the ring of these bright jewels

and orbs that blink 

throughout the globe.

 

 

The Final Dokusan (My Zen Teacher’s Last Breath)

I watched 

as your body shriveled before me 

and meditated in stillness— 

wondering if your ashes 

have kept the turtles company.

 

After our last dokusan 

when I told you about 

how music had been murdered 

 

you wanted me 

to keep the legacy 

of the living world alive 

 

through whirling words on the page 

like a Merlin-magician 

but I wasn’t sure if I could 

unscramble my brain 

to make sense of your directions 

as we approached the sesshin 

at The Garrison Institute… 

 

and after our last dokusan 

I went for a hike 

and took pictures of the amber 

leaves as the sun burst 

through the camera 

not knowing that it would 

be the last time we spoke. 

 

I held onto the ceramic 

statue of Jizo 

and found a monk’s smile 

to help me untangle the strings 

and emptied my hands 

so that I can continue 

to chop wood 

and carry water.

Torn

I stopped playing with words 

to make sense of the world 

for the thought of being ripped 

 

torn into tiny pieces 

by a pair of scissors angling towards 

my chest 

as everyone watched the shredded work

made me revere the void 

that I had created. 

 

it was just a technique— 

that’s what the professor said: 

 

this is how you edit… 

 

And I watched his hands 

as my voice trembled to the floor. 

 

I observed 

as my belly became big 

with double chocolate fudge ice-cream dripping

over a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes– extra

whip cream clogging my throat: 

 

and the silent years followed: 

 

subdued 

numb… 

with hamburger buns… 

 

and the fog remained 

 

as 

I hovered 

 

above each sentence 

wondering if I would ever find my voice again.

Caroline Reddy's accepted and published works include poems in ActiveMuse, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, Braided Way, Cacti-Fur, Clinch, and Star*line among others. In 2021, her poem A Sacred Dance was nominated for Best of The Net prize by Active Muse. Caroline has also written a book review for a volume of poetry by award-winning poet Claudine Nash. A native of Shiraz, Iran, she is working on a collection of poems called StarBeing which chronicles the life of a Starseed on earth.

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