I was seventeen when I read Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen
a couple pages at a time, putting down the book to observe
sunset drape itself over my mind, falling asleep thinking
of not thinking, hearing a flock of birds and imagining myself
flapping against the sky and recalling that I am sky. Once,
the book well-thumbed and creased and read twice over,
I felt an ant crawl the length of my arm like a nagging
sense that this enlightenment wouldn’t last, that
whether I crushed it or saved it would determine
the course of my life, which I knew to be my one and
only life, and I knew that I would get it wrong, that one
day I would own a house and have a wife and son
and no amount of introspection would clear the crumbs
I hadn’t time to sweep between this and that
priority, that when the ants came looking for food
on Christmas Eve like a parable of how the living world
exists for the living I would set to work with poison
and impatience because the hour was growing late
and we are all made in God’s image, which is to say
we are power-hungry gods, we have things to do,
we can kill without consequence. 

Image credit:Prabir Kashyap

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.