In the summer of 2008 when wildfire descended on Tassajara Zen Center, the oldest Zen monastery outside Asia, The Forest Service evacuated all residents. Five monks turned back and met the fire, saving Tassajara. —Adapted from Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire at the Gates of Tassajara It was Dharma Rain met you, Dharma Rain from granite wine pumped from the creek through PVC pipe soaking wooden buildings, dirt, stone, skin— sprinklers the sound of sustained violins— strings creating their own sultry atmosphere— your fiery, brass choir waiting for the director’s baton to cue you in. It was the Fire Monk Jazz Quintet rearranged the score, re-harmonized the minor-chord flame-song, Jump, Jive, An’ Wailin’ fire-hose saxophones swingin’ with your drivin’ hot-rock rhythms and log-rollin’ bass notes, cascading down into the smoke- filled Tassajara gulch, the whole valley smelling like the world’s original singe— you, up on the ridge, ripping off red blouses from manzanitas and madrones, becoming more aroused with each naked limb, each torso exposed in firelight. You crowned them one-by-one, but couldn’t penetrate the V-shaped ravine, though you tried like a groom on his wedding night but in the end, more out of duty than desire, you stumbled drunk into the bed of the garden, soft glow buried in her soil, her mist. * * * Conceived of flash between earth and sky, I smoldered three days beneath dust. Born hungry for live oak, sycamore, maple—compelled to carve paths through the chaparral— maroon-barked manzanita, chamise, ceanothus, yucca— to enlighten all flesh in my oven mouth— in one breath to translate a trillion tree lines, a billion pages of bay laurel into fire beetles and whispering bells. O Tassajara, when your lanterns were lit along the Engawa surrounding your zendo this morning, I saw you— the frost of your skin, your body, your vulnerable ground, fire monk boots making little Buddha-shapes in the wet dirt. I saw your treetops aligned like piano keys, each taut string tied to nothingness, waiting for my vermilion finger -nailed touch. Then I turned to the moist commerce of your temple gate and yurts, sheds and chemicals, pine rooms and cabins, birdhouse and pool, your schist stone Buddha, eyes brushed closed, buried in the bocce ball court, calling down my parched tongues to lap your Dharma Rain, your granite wine, to suckle the icicle of you.