Om Mani Padme Hum

I used to think that to pray
meant you had to be perfect, devout and truly holy
I have spent the last month with 18 strangers who all pray
in different ways.

Roy is from New Mexico and only knows rice and beans. Sometimes only beans. He will become an engineer to support his mother.
Joyce is Filipina and is separated from her mother and her sister. She is in love with a boy from Oregon and they’ve been dating for four months. She believes in love at first sight and soulmates still.
Karissa is divorced and hiccups a lot. Sometimes they give her orgasms, sometimes they make her kick. She doesn’t believe that it is Terrets.
Molly is in the army and is scared. Her mother is addicted to drugs, and molly is addicted to the body of a woman who now lives in Virginia.
Adam is a mystery. He walks alone a lot and says he has no girlfriend—but a lady at home who would be upset to hear that.
We meditate together on death and forgiveness. I picture my parents’ soft faces—what do they picture? I peak my eyes open from meditation and see Shirin rocking, I see tears streaming Miguel’s face. Molly is biting her lips closed, and Joyce is whimpering.
I pray to anyone who will listen and these people pray to Allah, Buddha, Jesus, and themselves. Together we must be heard, because we cry pretty loud as one.