On Disbelief And The Wishes Not Included In Prayers
by Angela Siew
On a bleak day,
the sun shining on the bamboo palm
and her statue of seated Buddha,
my therapist leaned in and said,
Let me tell you something—
and it’s very simple.
If you want something,
all you have to do is ask.
After a moment
that felt like a rearranging of stars,
I sucked in my breath—
turned the thought over,
ran through the seconds
of the past month,
and listened to the rushing water
pouring into Buddha’s stone pond,
how it pushed forward—
particle after particle,
stream to stream,
how I couldn’t possibly explain
how that water moved.
On a night when a halo encircled the moon
and the morning after
when a halo wrapped around the sun,
I asked myself—
what determines the separation of days?
Ice crystals, the nightly newscaster said,
a pleased smile on her face.
They create the appearance of a ring
called a 22 degree halo.
That day held 60 degree temperatures,
three weeks before Thanksgiving—
two weeks before the arrival of a lover from abroad,
bringing the memory of a couple’s picture
on Ponte Vecchio under the half-light in hanging heat.
It brought questions about courtship rituals
and moon worship during the Mid-Autumn Festival,
and if my mother knew she loved my father enough
to see the richness of their life thirty years later
in another country too large, too brash, too free.
Why tonight of all nights did I notice
the colors of two trees with touching branches,
the thick and thin lines—a rendering
of the delicate lines of ships
This poem first appeared in Crab Orchard Review