There is a sandalwood Buddha on the desk that has my stomach and I don't suppose to call myself a Buddha or even pretend to know much about Buddhist whirlings but Rachel gave me the thing and it's got my belly the one my father has got and the one his father had and I know this bulge the way I know my name, and can't believe I've become the language of fat that the boys in my family have kept quiet. So I encourage my stomach out into the world, rub it on a daily basis and think that if I ever become a religious man there would be god and glory to find there, my rib cage distended, my love of ice cream as sweet as my love of Rachel who put the Buddha in my palm a month after we met and said, have this, and I said, I already have this, my hands in motion around my belly button and then today noticed for the first time that the little bastard has got some serious nipples on him, thank god, and breasts too, he's the perfect kind of godlike statuette even if I am a Jew but the days have been glorious and people die in truck crashes and men beat their wives and flowers bloom purple and the cardinal I've named Jack always comes around my way at this time, 4:40 in Baldwin on the Island, Wes Montgomery on the Sony and I don't know if it's his song Cariba or the wind on my swollen toes that makes me pick up the little guy, stick him in my mouth, swirl him around between teeth and cheek, place him on the edge of my tongue and let him surf there, through the neighborhood of my white heat, on the curl of my pink waves.
From The New Year of Yellow by Matthew Lippman, published by Sarabande Books, Inc. © 2007 by Matthew Lippman. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books and the author.
Matthew Lippman is the author of American Chew (Burnside Review Books, 2013). He teaches at Beaver Country Day School and lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/surf-buddha