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Random Acts of Art: Poetry- Alberto Montero and “zazen with the dead”

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Please enjoy this poem zazen with the dead by local poet Alberto Montero.


 zazen with the dead


I am seated on the floor by his vacant bed

brother-in-law’s absence feels


like the jagged edges of

shattered glass;

his hat behind the door hangs mournfully;

on the corner of an empty desk, his wallet

is a museum artifact now


The first bell rings

my starting breath

half lotus, eyes opened

my presence: his absence

concatenated, inseparable

casts a shadow on the wall:

God’s giant thumbprint


Between thoughts,

shadows and light dance on the wall

flowing into each other

separated only by lines invisible to me

I focus on him

his face is like mine

before my parent’s birth


He speaks to me as

a gentle breeze drifts in

through his open window

providing relief from the

stifling afternoon heat:

“I am the mountain wind

from the páramo with golden veins;

do not look for me in the place of ashes”



the finishing bell rings

and is carried far;

the basu sound is heard by the dogs

of la Floresta neighborhood

who respond with their barking chorus


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