The Laughing Buddha visits our local Panera Bread – a poem by Kristine Brown

The Laughing Buddha visits our local Panera Bread

There goes Ch’i-t’zu
peddling his expertise to the girl with golden rain boots, an elf of
fourteen years
who would just like a week out of this lifetime that permits the
casual wear of ordinary flip-flops.
Mud between toes, a chocolate cake to corrode your sweet tooth
“There, there,” sings the monk of Fenghua,
“Tomorrow…a high of 83 degrees. Rain will sleep in bed, with a bowl of black bean soup
taking her temp. from the nightstand
as you climb these trees of oak.”

“Okay, Ch’i-t’zu.
What other tricks dance in that burgundy burlap messenger bag?”

“Well, let’s see. I’ve got satin bears, pinewood tops. Hot Wheels for boys, but I think what this Little Miss would really enjoy is this lavender My Little Pony. Friendship is magic.”

There goes my little Ashlyn
waddling forth to wisecracking Santa, giggling as if she heard a joke from
Mommy, away on a business trip
who would wag her finger at such an engagement, but within ten minutes
relent and return his black tea grin.
Our personal Boo Radley? The neighbors say so.
“I hail from miles beyond,” Ch’i-t’zu clears his throat,
“But I’ve heard this town’s bereft of cheer. Morning toast, without your favorite strawberry jam.
Tortillas. Without meat. Or salsa.”
We can only nod
while Ashlyn blesses his cotton tummy, rotund.


On the weekends, Kristine Brown frequently wanders through historic neighborhoods, saying “Hello” to most any cat she encounters. Some of these cats are found on her blog, Crumpled Paper Cranes ( Her creative work can be found in HobartSea Foam MagPhilosophical Idiot, among others, and a collection of flash prose and poetryScraped Knees, was released in 2017 by Ugly Sapling.

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