by Alan Seltzer
Should I be prepared to sit for years
cross-legged on this black cushion
staring at a point on the blank white
wall that is not there?
Should I do whatever it takes
to prove myself, to get your attention,
to have revealed to me the secret
that is not a secret?
Should I be like those of legend,
stand half naked in the snow
before your gate for days on end,
refrain from eating until you smile at me,
slash my arm with a ritual sword?
Do you doubt that I could stand unflinching
when you hit me with a stick,
ponder your cryptic riddles endlessly,
wander lonely mountain paths
until mountains become mountains?
Or do you fear I really will
cross the stream, abandon the raft,
and no one at all will be standing at your gate?
Used by permission of Alan Seltzer.