Senior Poetry Editor
Associate Poetry Editor
Robert Hill Long
Summer 2008, #15
"Convenient Acts of Human Behavior"
by Aileen Yoo
Baba was a holy man. He kept his right armed raised over his head for 20 years, like a school kid with an answer never to be called on. He was mistaken for a god, placed atop a temple dais. At his feet villagers laid candles, incense and bowls of oranges. He ate the fruit; inhaled smoke. With his left hand he sculpted from hot wax graven images of the right and scattered crumbs for believers left in disbelief.
He was no god. But he was something …
The symbol of free will! The federal building gargoyle. Cannons fired in salute. He made the cover of Time over which his tree limb withered. The bracelet of charm slid to his shoulders. Nails grew wild and branched. A knife gone mad, snagging wishes on their last flight out.
Soon pigeons nested in his exposed pit. Hatchlings mistook his wiry beard for worms, choked and died. The novelty of the oddity who overlooked the square atrophied.
Throughout all this Baba did nothing. He merely watched, bemused by interpretations. At how the mind, just as the body, can adjust to anything.