Arts + Scene » Poetry

Secret Box



My classmate Buddy brought a box
to school — size of a shoebox,
  string-tied shut.
He carried it everywhere,
but would not open it,
  nor explain it.
It might have been empty,
might have contained leaves,
  or something sweet for his girlfriend.
By day’s end we were all
crazy to know, but Buddy just smiled.
Worse than the Mona Lisa,
  that box, that smile.

Old Chuang Tzu, forefather of Zen,
would have been proud:
Buddy harnessed the Nothing,
  that maybe empty box,
  to control us completely.
At the last reunion, I learnt
that he had died. No last-minute
confessions or revelations —
proving that you can, sometimes,
  indeed take it with you.

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