Like You - Like Me

He squats outside the shop, an old man serenely blowing smoke into the evening air,

She skips down the road, parents strolling behind, enjoying the shrieks and giggles

As she sees a kitten, a cockroach, a friend, a foreigner.

Somewhere behind a tiled wall a woman scolds over blaring TV.

Here a pair of schoolmates do homework together behind the counter

Where mum sells cigarettes to some businessman’s driver.

The big man himself sits stolid in his Merc, knock-off Ray-bans glittering despite the gathering gloom.

A pair of police officers bike along the pavement among pedestrians, peddlers, and parents.

She trips, and her grazes bring immediate attention; tissues to dry away the tears,

shop water to wash away the gravel, a sharp reprimand from mum for clumsiness.

The homework is ignored only for a second,

police pause, then continue,

Mr Money is already gone,

and she is lifted into her father’s arms for the rest of the way.

The old man’s smoke is long since finished,

but the street is still alive, so he stays, and squats a while longer beside his friends.

Are any of these, or all of these, like you, like me, known and loved?

He, and she,

Like you

Like me?

Reflection from a Tranzsend worker in East Asia


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