Twelve-Day Buddhist Silent Retreat
They fell in love while they were washing pots
and had no voices for twelve days—they had
watched each other through their meditations,
fallen deep into each other's fields.

On the twelfth day, they could speak with words again.

He was a boilermaker from Boston.
She, a Miami anthropologist.
He was married, with three children at home.
She had none, and was looking for someone.

He asked her then—What's anthropology?

She felt her voice in her throat like a live thing,
and she could only smile and laugh back
to the pots, huge and shiny in their hands,
reflecting their faces like children.

The Hudson Review, Summer 1999
Selected from the Hudson Review by Poetry Daily