Each morning, a Buddhist monk
asks an imaginary bird sitting on his shoulder,
“Is today the day I will die?”
The bird doesn’t answer, its perching reminding
the monk to decide how he wants to live
his last day.
If today is the day I will die,
I want to write a poem,
send a silent blessing to two people quarreling on a street,
address by name a cashier at a grocery store,
express compassion to a despondent brother,
seek forgiveness from those I have grieved.
If I awake tomorrow, I’ll ask the bird again.