Poetry & Writing

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Prayers to Buddha

You are the sun that rises above water

the jade buried in stone

a woman who gives birth to sons

My grandmother reads

from the almanac of life

tucked under my bed

since the year I was born.

I am the gypsy child she raised,

more important

than her own children,

I cannot be labeled by a number.

For me she lights incense daily,

picks one Chinese character

and counts two rounds of five fingertips

until her eyebrows no longer twitch

and she knows

I am safe from men

with heads but no tails

who want to draw

circles with their right hand

squares with their left.

These men, she says,

can only pray to Buddha

for salvation, journey through snow

in thin-soled shoes, cross

the mud-bridge.

They cannot offer the life

her prophesy commands.

                                                                        Priscilla Lee

Jade pendant of Kwan Yin from my Grandmother, 1989

After Grandma passed away, I put away the Kwan Yin I bought
myself (and worn for the past 20 years) and put hers on.