Paradise outdoors, illustrated by Shiori Shimomura

A canopy ravels from gray nacre,
the mountain’s verdant newborn filigree.
As dark and light flashes, blessings accrue
unfurling in fern-tip complexities
ushering the one space of the sacred.

Heaven is a gateless sanctuary
where my heart can run itself rabbit quick
sublimated in the nature of me,
the gospel rhythms of my walking stick,
gut and breath, unbounded as an orchid.

Such hallowing glory requires a break:
that’s when we go to church, temple or mall.
Under a roof only humans would make,
we collect into our scale and recall
the transports of sequoia and fungi.

But for prayer in the present, there’s one hall:
the unroofed architecture of the all.
By Shiori Shimomura


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