The Prayer Line in Koreatown Los Angeles By Patti Ross

The Prayer Line in Koreatown Los Angeles

I watched the line in Koreatown LA wrap around the city block
As if the city of Jericho resided inside and with a shout it would fall.
The voice of pandemic screams at the empty garden.
There is quiet order like rows in a field, no messiness.
A standing line awaiting to be blessed.

Like traditional seedlings, the environmental yield is low.
Low income, lower level, low budget, lowly.
The choir at Immanuel Church a cappella
Holding what is left of the relics of a food desert. The church was
Built in 1882, the year Charles Darwin died.

Where is the Humanity in all this?
A complex phenomenon of food pantries, soup kitchens
Church side doors and Mother Mary.
Who sees her children hungry waiting to be fed.
Food as sacred as the loaves broken to feed the multitudes,
Its sovereignty violated by principalities drunk on exploitation.

The numbers rise 120, 500, 1000, 2000 in line,
Now regulars among the cries from the Mother of Exiles.
Shall we paint the nave golden? Perhaps the one
that Emma Lazarus wrote about the year after Darwin died.

Here the huddled masses yearn to eat, to work, all essential.
Standing quietly together just one of a million measured miles.
The tide has come bringing pandemic pandemonium.
Here the church Immanuel sustains us and shows us how to pray.

By Patti Ross


Patti Ross graduated from Washington, DC’s Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts and The American University. After graduation, she had a brief career in the arts and several of her journalist pieces were published in the Washington Times and the Rural America newspapers. Patti has rediscovered her love of writing and is sharing her voice as the spoken word artist “little pi.” Her debut chapbook, St. Paul Street Provocations, will be released in 2021 by Yellow Arrow Publishing. She currently serves on the Board for the Maryland Writers Association, as well as several other non-profit organizations in the Baltimore region. Patti lives in Ellicott City, MD. You can follow her blog at: and