the devil dwells in the mountain

the devil dwells in the mountain

    of my thoughts

         between the layers

    of granite and shale and

the compacted dirt of pride

    swelling up to the summit


each day he crawls

     out of the mountain 

to join me at the pinnacle 

   and we stand together

        the devil and I

          looking down

    upon the ravaged valleys

        of my life


and as we stand 

  he sometimes meets 

my gaze and sweeps 

  his sinuous arms

across the panorama 

     of my shadow times


                and tells me that

  at the snap of his fingers

       and for a small fee


 I could conquer them


    I could even blot them out,

               he says, if I wanted to


but as I gaze on the land below

     strewn with barren trees

and the ash of foregone dreams

    now lumped

into the crusted dirt

     I feel no revulsion

         no cause for war


    these barren rivulets of history

are a grief not to be ransacked

      but redeemed

                 as a forest awaiting

the renewal that rests in embers

   when her rivers 

        will be refilled

    and her roots overrun

       with mycelia and phlox


One day

       if I have courage enough

         I will blow the devil away

as vapor 

 and go down

         the mountain

      to water a small patch 

        of ashen earth       


        then I will wait there 

   and watch

          for a sapling to rise up

                from the ruin

Fabled Buddhas