While in Chiang Mai, we visited the Buddhist temple where my family worshipped. We brought food and an offering of money to the monk, and in return asked for the blessing we so needed. “Pour the water,” the monk said, and as we poured, he chanted, the words running with the water. I recognized words and phrases and our family name: Koslaphirom. “America,” he said. The words flowed and flowed until the water ran out. He stopped and bowed. We thanked him, then stepped out into the physical world again.

Blessings tumbled down on us

as water filled a bowl,

the monk chanting words,

rhythm of flowing water.

Outside, cars sped by,

people hung laundry over

balcony railings.

Cats walked languidly

across the courtyard and

fish darted about in their

watery kingdom – an urn

on the stone steps.

Inside the temple, the

blessings flowed onto

my pink-cheeked son, plump

with young blood, and

my mother, cancer cells

coursing through her veins.

And blessing reached across town,

to where my father was wheezing

in his hotel bed, hooked up

to an oxygen tank, tethered

still to our world.

Blessings poured over memory –

of Grandfather, long gone,

though we reached for him.

Grandmother, too, and my

oldest aunty, and others I

have never known. Blessings

flowed, chant like, waking

us with a splash of water

and the presence of

each other, everywhere.