“Hallelujah people lai liao!*”:
lanterns lit our path into a house of—God
have mercy—sex, flesh hiding beneath
frail smiles, our offers of cookies and prayer.
A dark-skinned girl wearing
a cross, which I could not bear
to look, reached for us; we embraced
her in a cocoon of indistinguishable bodies.
Clasped hands catching crumbs
of lost words and bowed heads
sculpted petitions to our Father. Amen,
we said, a thousand questions
unspoken among us,
each struggling to soar, to find a home
where every answer burns
a gentle fire to light up a long, long night.
* “lai liao”: literally come already in Chinese