Truth must consist of living
               out our lives in accord
               with certain inescapable realities.

                            —Kosho Uchiyama      

Candlelight is not
enough light
to read by

any more than bluegills
circling blindly
beneath the ice
can lead anyone
to salvation

or even
mere enlightenment.

Outside, the wind groans
on, branches
heavy with snow twist
and creak, small feet
curl into fur.

In Japanese
there are words for this

shogyō mujō

the nature of the wick

sangai kaiku

the suffering
of the wax.

Robert Tremmel lives and writes in Ankeny, Iowa. Recently, he’s published in Packingtown Review, Spillway, Poet Lore, Santa Fe Literary Review, Cold Mountain Review, The Fourth River, and others. He’s also published two collections and a chapbook titled There is a Naked Man.