Spring 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 2 Asian-American LiteratureApril 1, 1995 |

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 prophecy commands.

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