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Here I am, sitting on the wooden veranda
of the Amitabha Hermitage, a building
three hundred years old, as old as old can be,
pillars and walls all askew,
perched on the middle slopes of the outermost ridges
of the Diamond Mountains.
Sound of the breeze
sound of streams
sound of birds
absolutely nobody near
only sometimes a squirrel
taking a short-cut through the garden
stares up wide-eyed.
Sitting thus for half a day,
looking up at the strange rock shapes
of Longevity Rock,
or gazing out at the distant East Sea,
or up at the clouds drifting by, then
casually stepping down into the garden:
Is this some kind of apparition?
In the forty years since I left my home in the North
she must have died and I know nothing of her tomb:
is there in the sky above the fresh green trees
that cover Sonhwa peak,
just like the Virgin as she appeared at Lourdes,
enveloped in a halo!
The form is so lifelike
I rub my eyes, brushing away tears
and take a few steps forward
and, ah, she has vanished.