Annie Bien

The Third Eye


The swan, wings spread wide,
lowers feet first toward the pond,
feathers pearling water:
between alighting
and lifting, the sun casts
a swan shadow,
an imprint of wings
and dappled water
of an illusory moment
into reverie.


Bucket Bath—Bylakuppe


The frog crouches elbows up, eyes fixed
upon me crouched elbows out next to the bucket.

I turn the tap labeled—hot water —
scoot to—cold water—dipping

the plastic spout cup into the bath brew.
The frog, round-eyed, unblinks.

I am guest and he is resident. No scalding

Water streams through my hair, rivulets
drip over shoulders, breasts, navel, hips, legs, toes

pooling onto tile—where frog toes grip the dip
at the edge of the drain in the wall, the exit.

Shampoo squirts into palm, scrub away morning
dust, afternoon dust, tuk-tuk exhaust, exhausted dust lungs.

Cup after cup, to the last pour, everything washed, rinsed,
unsqueaked, elbows straight. I look at my companion,

the mottled frog, eyes bulged but unsurprised, lifts his haunches
each time I sweep water and soap toward.

When I return home to my modern shower, I will miss
those steady eyes.





Annie Bien received her first seed writing commission from the Soho Theatre Company in London. A short poetry collection, Plateau Migration, was published by Alabaster Leaves Press in 2012. An English translator for Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, she received four grants from 84000 to translate Buddha’s sutras into English.

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