THE IMPORTANT THING  

is to give with abandon
and when you are the most naked, so that your hunger
turns into fields of gleaming fruit trees
and your frail and aging body
harbors a spirit that dwarfs mountains,
so that your giving is a path
towards endless vistas like the dying man
telling his art student
during her very last visit, “If only
I had a few pears I could paint.”
She thought it was to assuage
her grief, yet when he died, the pears
began to bloom on her canvases
with the quivering of new flesh, the sad
flames of sunset, the translucence
of tears. Like the woman in a Hungarian
prison whose birthday gift
to her cell mate was a rose made
out of toilet paper, a flower that survived

her execution. The important thing
is to give, randomly
and out of poverty, not knowing
whether the heart’s pale shoots
will create leaves or perish.