Pride and Dignity


A man in rags
Cooks jiaozi
In a battered black wok
Over a smoky fire
In a 55 gallon oil drum.
He sells them to common folks
On a street in a poor part of town. 
He wears a clean, tall, white chef’s hat. 

A man in rags,
Who clearly has had a stroke,
Shuffles on his good leg
Between cars
At a stop light.
Dusting windshields with his good arm,
He sings out of the good side of his face.
He isn’t begging for money,
But, if you give him a coin,
He will give you a half-smile. 

Shanghai  2007

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