blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
print version

Learning How to Meditate in Gowhar’s Plum Orchard

In a Bangladesh accent, raspy from police beating his throat with sticks, Gowhar said: “Don’t think about anything. Fill your mind with silence.”

Wind rattled a plum tree. Sun scratched my eyelids with gold needles. A cardinal cracked a whip.

“Sometimes it helps to imagine you’re sitting by a still mountain pond,” he added.

I sweated up a rocky trail, squatted like a lotus on a granite ledge, watched trout sip mayflies from a windless pond. Somewhere in the distance, a cell phone hummed The Lone Ranger.

“It’s for you,” Gowhar said.

“The President’s right,” a voice muttered in my ear. “You can hide, but we’ll always find you.”

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I represent Lisa Novak. Don’t pretend you don’t know her.”

Truly mystified, I said: “Do you mean the astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida in space diapers with a BB gun, steel mallet, and pepper spray to kill her romantic rival?”

“None other,” the voice said. “Cameras picked you up at the Orlando airport that fateful February day. We know you put her up to it.”

“I’m not who you think I am,” I replied, watching a squirrel gnaw a green plum. I pressed the “Off” button and handed the phone back to Gowhar.

The next mountain I climbed was on the moon. I looked for footprints of astronauts, but didn’t find any. When my breaths erased the stars, all I saw was a blue marble. It looked as if some kid had rolled it under a dark bush and had no idea where it was.  end

return to top