— Inspired by the story of the adoption of Xu Qian Qian
The ruts have dried into shining streets
With pots of iron trees
The old muck, capped-off and deep, a grave of
A clod-size child splays upon a drain to the
Her bowels leak through a tunnel, built by a
Thousand peasant brickers.
Her math is gone, as is her mother, her view
Is feet that faster, fast
Snub the spice shop for the bank; she counts them
Caterwauling, “Cash! Cash!”
The racing shoes chuck pennies or dimes — by
Her vile they appraise her.
When her dangling feet have dried to scabs, the
Boss will bring his razor.
The farmer’s final asking: “Help her grow,”
As his thumbprint marked the line.
“City growth is riches,” said the man, “now
Her crippled legs are mine.”