Laughing Buddha – a poem by Margaret Coombs

Laughing Buddha

In a stranger’s yard, an obese squirrel in a maple tree 
nibbles a peanut. From an icy sidewalk I count 
thirteen shells, pale figure-eights someone placed 
on a platform before him. It’s Thanksgiving. Soon 

I will fete and feast, sating myself as easily as Fat Buddha 
here. I plan to bypass the arugula salad 
with cranberries and pecans I made, pile my plate 
with gouda and peanut-butter pie. I read that Fat Buddha 

was a wandering monk who carried candy in a sack. 
He forecasted the weather, credited as a small miracle. 
According to the soft batting in the sky, we may soon 
have snow and if we do, my prize should be a small statue 

of this squirrel to remind me of his blissful disregard 
of Body Mass Index. I remember a boyfriend who told me, 
your belly looks like the Buddha at the Chinese diner. 
I breathe through the sting still festering after five years, 

tuck feelings away one by one into a quilt-covered bassinet. 
Let them rest. It was a blessing! says the gem 
I sometimes see at the bottom of my muddy moods. Fat Buddha,  
Laughing Buddha, was one much loved and welcomed 

everywhere. Who loves this squirrel? Who loves me? 
The quilted sky dissolves into weightless flakes, closes in. 
Who tames us with such abundance? I am embraced.  

Margaret Coombs is a poet and retired librarian from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA, the city of her birth, located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Her first chapbook, The Joy of Their Holiness, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Press under the name Peggy Turnbull. She now uses her birth name as her pen name. Recent poems have appeared in Silver Birch Press, Bramble, Three Line Poetry, and Verse-Virtual.  She occasionally blogs at

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