A Prophet Without Words

                   after Mai Der Vang

God told me to scissor the night

to practice my vowels.

    After bias comes Isa comes kisah,

    after poison comes Jesus comes a tale.

    After padi comes beras comes nasi,

    after rice comes rice comes rice.

My faith wreathes into a red scarf

a refugee wears, it smells like home.

    The washing instructions say:

    If one cannot divide,

    one must go across the Red Sea.

Years ago, I was a son who came home

bringing bread every day.

    Ramah leads to marah leads to remah,

    kindness leads to anger leads to crumbs.

Looking across the sea,

I left my sack of rice back home.

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