In Sichuan they dream of schools
In the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, over 7,000 rural schoolrooms collapsed from shoddy construction, killing over 5,000 children.
The children of Sichuan are buried in the fields of rice.
They are dreaming under stones harvested
from bricks and cement of their fallen schools.
These bricks had only dust for mortar,
the slabs of cement had only sticks for strength.
The peasants are grieving.
They are walking with pictures of their children
to be heard by officials in the capital.
They sob and wail, walk for miles, lament
the corruption that stole the mortar and steel.
The old school still stands
as a warehouse for officials to store their goods.
In the capital officials bow, apologize,
promise to build safe schools,
but nothing happens.
Rice seedlings go untended in the paddies
for only a short season, peasants
must plant to eat.
A year later they no longer speak of grief
or dreams, they praise their government,
criticize each other.
Poetry Magazine, NY: 2012.
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize