Published on Academy of American Poets (

Buddha with a Cell Phone

The dark sky opens and it starts to rain. I go outside
to stand in the stream, the longed-for gift of water
where it hasn’t rained for so long. I shout and dance
with the dog, who puts his ears back and licks my nose.
When we come back in, he shakes and I do too,
a few drops flying off my hair. I notice the Buddha
sitting on my desk. He’s a rubber Buddha
in a yellow robe. If you squeeze him he squeaks.
He’s got a radiant smile on his face, his eyebrows
happy half-moons over his eyes. As I stare at him
my wife walks by and with a cheery Buddha-like glint says,
“It’s raining.” In his right hand the Buddha’s got a cappuccino
and in his left a cell phone pressed to his ear.
His lips are closed so I know he’s listening, not talking.
One more thing—I pick up a little kaleidoscope
lying next to the Buddha and lift it to my eye to look outside.
I thought it would make the raindrops glitter
through the autumn-dry corn but instead what I see
looks like the ceiling of a great cathedral.
I whirl around and am presented with the image
of a thousand rubber Buddhas, each one
a drop of rain, falling, ready to hit the ground.


David Romtvedt, Some Church (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by David Romtvedt. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.


David Romtvedt

A former poet laureate of Wyoming, David Romtvedt is the author of several poetry collections, including Some Church (Milkweed Editions, 2005). He teaches at the University of Wyoming.

Date Published: 2005-01-01

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