Poem: God in Geylang

“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 

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