Two students pass each other on the road
to Szechuan Province. One is dressed in flowing
saffron robes while the other
carries a homely, gnarled walking stick.
They do not know each other.
Yet as they near, the first bows to the second.
Thinking to be polite, the second bows in return.
The students continue on until they become
old men, whithered and creaking,
and each bowing in turn, grow gnarled and twisted into
cherry trees. Each summer,
as the flowers blossom,
they float down almost as if to say “I insist”