My wife was the first Buddhist I’d ever met
striding into the School of Religion’s library
early in the spring semester of 1978
with her maroon zafu under her arm.
Looking me in the eye she asked
“Is this where the sitting is going to be?”
We’d sometimes sit in her apartment
the two of us facing each other in the twilight
And when I asked her in a Kansas City jewelry store
if she would marry me
she said no and drove off to California
and her tall blond physicist boyfriend
in her Chevy Nova
Only to accept in Berkeley that summer
the sapphire and two little diamonds I presented to her
as if it were a multiple star system.
That fall we got married,
first under a chupa for her parents
and later in our grey robes,
vowing to enter Buddha’s great ocean of vows.
Today she wears a gold kasa,
and our hair is grey.
When Un Mun was asked what was under his robes
he answered, “Intimacy.”
I still peek at her sometimes when we sit.
~ Stanley Lombardo
Stanley Lombardo has published translations of the poems of Homer, Sappho, Virgil, Ovid and Dante. Having hoed that long row he is now tending to his own poetry and preparing to retire from the University of Kansas where he has taught classical languages for 37 years.