Last Train Home--Chinese Documentary

Last Train Home--Chinese Documentary


We met at eleven
on a Wednesday
for a Chinese movie
preceded by a fat American
lunch at the Pavilion cafe.

Overfed in our luxury as we
observed the spirit of these dynamic people with
backs bent in two, using simple tools
to farm and rebuild cities, to live in squalid
closet-size rooms for decades, and send money home
to finance dead dreams, to children who don’t understand why.

To children who just want their mommy and daddy to tuck them in at night.

To forsake what we would call normal.

Young couples who have to leave home at an early age
leave their babies to work in factories
to make jeans for spoiled Americans with 40 inch waistlines
until their fingers are bent
until they have become so numb
that they no longer remember
how to speak to their own children.

Migrant workers trapped in their nightmare lives
breathlessly pushing
against the mob
for days
for a train to take them back to
sons and daughters
who live in tiny shacks with grandma
reeking of
inadequate plumbing
looking to escape the duty of being first in their class.
Frustrated lonely children searching for an alternate life
away from their parents’ stark reality.
Sharp children still wide-eyed
more impatient as each year passes
for mommy and daddy’s annual visit.

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