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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015


Sara Abend-Sims
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Three Layers Deep

My Buddha, grey concrete form, not a garden gnome, is to be placed by a tree or a bush, to be still like a rock in the open. A master’s love of this Thai statue—gentle with feminine smile—is transmitted to me, a gift, an offering, a reminder.

The Buddha stays for a decade or so unlike the giver. The statue smiles at me quietly by the peppercorn tree, till the woman next door marks black heavy lines on the grey; making his smile a big grin. She wants him laughing, I guess, to soften her grief and despair. This woman has gone, moved somewhere else, yet the markings remain. They won’t go away with scrubbing or solvents, the grey concrete grips like a dog clutching bone, gritted teeth, growling, holding on.

The perfect answer comes one day, the remedy, the fix. One paint application, a second, a third and my Buddha is golden from head to cross-legged hidden toes. His softness restored to old smile’s gentle glow. No lotus leaves, no scent of flowers, no risk of pigeons’ droppings or black markers in vandals hands. My Buddha is safe now with painted new skin, protected from harm, hardship or whims. He’s smiling from the room’s distant end, emitting his ancient gentle bliss.

Sometimes though, I hear a small, tiny voice as the whiff of a breeze comes through the window. It strokes my Buddha’s cheeks and makes his lips whisper to me, just to me, just to me, "This gold suits me fine as any good coating should, but let us remember the original skin and that one woman’s heartache remains etched on the grey, three layers deep, here, under this sheen."

silent rock
morning mist
softens sharp edges



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