Mrs Nguy

Mrs Nguy died
her family looked
for a Buddhist funeral
they probably googled it
they found me

I pointed them
towards more formal
and fitting celebrants
but they still wanted
me

ok I had some robes
and a bit of background
but you know
I’m not ordained
not ‘proper’
and I certainly couldn’t
speak Cantonese

a few minutes
before the service
her grandson told me
the congregation
couldn’t speak English

I put away my notes
for the speech
now redundant
and nearly panicked
but there was no time
and the microphone
was on

I remembered
the old Chinese poem
the Chan thing
about the chanting
where the meaning
is in the tune
not the words
so I sang

the singing
lifted
we all cried
those ancient tunes
reborn

Church door