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The House of the Faithful

Updated: Mar 12

This piece is dedicated to A Thousand Years of Good Prayer by Yiyun Li.

It takes five hundred years of prayers for strangers to pass by each other in this life,

Popo arranges offerings on the family shrine.

Oranges, apples and fluffy pink cakes.

I stare at my ancestor’s red plaque, wondering if he's eating the food on the altar, nourishing his spirit in his afterlife.

Popo prays for our future, my cousins' and mine.

For our safety, our success, our happiness.

I watch the ashes of the burning incense collecting into the pot.

A mountain of ashes that is never emptied, years of fervent devotion condensed into a deep red bowl.

It's said a thousand years of prayers are needed to be born into a good family.