“China, After 35 Years, to End ‘One-Child’ Policy,”
The Washington Post, October 30, 2015
At the fruit and vegetable market, as the daylight
Starts to stir, then stands up, a breathy squeaking rises
From among the cabbages. The boy in the peaked
Bamboo hat cannot hear this as he passes, guiding
Two oxen up the rutted road, packed with vans
And bicycles, each plotting its zigzag path, churning up
Dust. Another infant girl awakes among the cabbages.
The squeaking amplifies to yelps, then builds to yowls.
A farmworker lifts the swaddled newborn to her chest.
The crowd swells. This time it was Grandmother
Who insisted: Try again. At vegetable markets, hospital
Parking lots, and iron gates at baby-rich orphanages,
Girls are deposited, in a basket or a box, before dawn.
The girl in the cabbages, joining a nation of one hundred
Forty thousand girls, will climb up the road and learn,
As the others did—scattered from Perth to Chicago
To Copenhagen—how her second parents, with open
Arms, had wanted to be golden thrones. Years later, her little
Brother will bike to the market to buy oranges, juicy luck.