Grandfather sits, cross-legged
at the table, a Bible perched in front
of him, which he periodically smooths
with his wrinkled hands.

He’s speaking to us about one
of the many revelations he’s discovered,
a voice of gentle and unshakeable conviction, worn
in the deep creases of his forehead.
He binds it over our temples,
sealed with all those blessings that he has
witnessed as they bloomed
over the years.

In the kitchen, Grandma goes
to remove the soup from the stovetop
loudly, a non-verbal signal
that she’s getting hungry.
He ignores the message, instead

proceeding on as before, five, ten,
fifteen minutes emphasized by the gestures
of his hands.
Finaly he closes
his message in prayer with that Korean that sings
softly along
to Amazing Grace, that laughs gently
in awe of his grandchildren, that
prays, every night, every
day, where no one can hear
him except the Lord himself. …

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Moments in which we drink deeply from the source of meaning are moments of prayer, whether we call them so or not.

— Steindl-Rast

October, 2018: My grandmother’s first birthday without my grandfather.

I stepped out of our family car and onto the grass field of the cemetery he was buried in.

The sense of loss is so strong. It doesn’t matter that he’d died in May and that it was already October, and it didn’t matter that life continued moving on without him. A familiar pang in my nasal cavity brought tears to my eyes.

Pearl suggested Ashley to sing Amazing Grace for him, because he always loved hearing it. She shook her head, no, because she knew she wouldn’t be able to make it through the whole song. Pearl, instead, prayed for us, to my grandfather, gasping through soft sobs. …

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On the car ride to the hospital, I can’t help but think about how much Jude deserves it.

Dad doesn’t say much. He almost never does. Just grips the steering wheel like it’s a lifeline tugging him back to shore. “Jamie, can you turn down the radio? It’s really distracting.”

I turn down the radio. “Sorry.”

He isn’t frowning, but the creases between his eyebrows are half-frown and half-wrinkles that are caused by frowns. …


Ivey Choi

BC 2019. I like contemporary and literary fiction about character growth & development.

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