The other day
I met a monk who juggled watermelon seeds
with his tongue.
When I asked him how he did it,
he spit the seeds at me,
a staccato stream of seeds
as if the monk were no monk at all
but rather a cartoon gangster, or vaudeville gunner.
All of the seeds flew over my head
except for one, the lone seed that clung
to the top of my shoulder.
The monk’s eyes wrinkled with silent laughter,
which soon emitted from his nostrils and mouth
as a soft hissing sound.
How do you do that, he pointed at the seed
perched on my shoulder.
I smiled and shrugged and the seed fell off.
On the way home I stopped at the grocery store and bought a watermelon.
When I got home I cut it open and made a project out of seed-removal.
Then I tried juggling seeds with my tongue,
but couldn’t do it.
Several hours later, having not made any progress with my juggling act,
I sat down and stared at the lovely sloppy wreckage of watermelon and rind,
and at, or rather into the dreamlife of seeds gathered in a small glass bowl.
I picked up one of the seeds and planted it on my shoulder.
It’s easy, I said, as if the monk were there watching and listening,
and his silence roared like the most marvelous applause.