THE KOANS for Miriam Sagan

They’ve asked her riddles (they’re not riddles) about
the first color that bent into light and
how many fingers wiggled the first hand.

She’s taken her Desert Faith, and headed up once again
into the mountains that are Buddha’s lap.

You walked? It hurt?
(He knows about her hip.)

I walked. My people like a walk.
The hip’s been better, though.

How strong before you were born?


What sound does a tree make, laughing?

You knew about my hip, but not about
the scholar who recorded conversations among trees?

Two crows on a branch.

My big pine died of drought.
Tell me your conditions.
I raised a child who learned
to speak old languages. Who longed to herd sheep
on a mountain like a piece of night that broke off and crashed down.

She says she fed the apricot tree by hand with grey-water.
She lays a handful of fruits at his feet.

Devon Miller-Duggan has had poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie,
Christianity and Literature, The
Indiana Review
, Harpur Palate, The
Hollins Critic
and a longish list of really little magazines.  She’s won an Academy of American Poets Prize,
a fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts, an editor’s prize in Margie, and been nominated for a
Pushcart Prize.  She teaches for the
Department of English at the University of Delaware.  Her first book, Pinning the Bird to the Wall appeared from Tres Chicas Books in
November 2008.

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