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Japan Was On His Bucket List; The Tiger And The Strawberry: A Buddhist Story by Jacqueline Jules



Japan Was On His Bucket List

Why did he have to go to Japan?


That May.


It was too far for an impulse trip.

Even old people book tickets

for the following spring. Why couldn’t

he see Zen gardens and eat authentic sushi

later, when he might not need

chemo pills in his carry-on?


He was only twenty-nine.


Why did he have to go to Japan?


That May. Not the following one.


And make me concede

that hilltop castles with curving roofs

might not be waiting for him

in the years to come.



The Tiger and the Strawberry: A Buddhist Story


Chased by a tiger

to the edge of a cliff,

a woman tried to escape

by climbing down a vine, only to see

a tiger prowling below. Soon after,

two mice scurried out of the rocks

to chew the vine holding her aloft.


That’s when the woman reached

for a strawberry growing

within her grasp.


The story makes me ache all over.


Tiger above, tiger below—

just like my own existence.


Yet the woman

relishes the strawberry,

filling her mouth

with one last sweet bite.



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