Xu Lizhi

Blue Angel 1

By Tamara Madison

When I look at the mountains now
I think of you. When I walk my dog
beneath the pink clouds of morning
I think of you. When I curse the car
that cuts me off on the freeway
as I drive to school I think of you.
When a student tells me with the tone
of her voice that she is missing
some vital piece of her life and wants
someone to care about it, I think of you

at the factory where you learned more
than you should have about iron
and acids, where you felt emotion
crumble into dust, where you buried
your love at the bottom of your heart
before you plunged like a dropped screw
from the factory window to the ground
below. I think of you on my drive home

as daylight fades like a sigh beyond
the horizon that separates West
from East. I think of you, a free slave
full of sad love, and your words
that dropped like overripe fruit
onto the leaf-strewn ground – all
so that we can caress the faces
of our iPhones and play Words
With Friends at stop lights on our
drives home and not notice the brilliant
sunset or the damage we have done.

*On the last day of September 2014, a 24-year-old migrant worker in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen killed himself. Xu Lizhi jumped out of a window of a residential dormitory run by his employer, Foxconn, the huge electronics manufacturing company with a million-strong workforce that makes the majority of the world’s Apple iPhones. A poet, Xu Lizhi left behind a number of beautiful poems. The italicized images in this poem were taken from his work.

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