masses: monument

art piece by marlene vine (, poem by roy herndon smith


when the student asked
“is there a self?” the teacher
refused to answer

or, in another
tradition, paused an endless
moment, then said, “mu”

meaning, “not have” or
“without”; in another text
the teacher answered

“take a look for it
yourself”; the student did and
found nothing, and, stunned

went back to stare at
the teacher who just sat there
still as a sore thumb

or a monument
on a battlefield, waiting
for someone to mourn