Pigtail is meeting his friend at the tent.
“Bao, do you have cigarettes?”
That box of cigarettes was stolen,
just like the type 64 handgun up on the roof.
Bao sits on the bed in the construction tent.
He broke his leg when they ran with the pistol.
Bao wants to sell it
and go to the hospital to get his leg fixed.
Pigtail is all against that.
“Bao, they will take down your head!”
Bao starts to cry,
crying harder and harder: “Look at the state I’m in!”
“I haven’t eaten at all for two days.
You want my leg to stay broken?”
Now Pigtail starts crying.
He’s wiping his face: “Look at this state we’re in!”
Pigtail decides to sell the gun.
He sells the gun to Mr. Dong.
This was the beginning of a big case:
The 12/1/97 murders* in Xi’an.
On such a night everyone thinks of the murders
I think of Pigtail and of Young Bao.
These hopeless kids from the bottom of China,
this people’s poet can’t get them out of his head.
Tr. MW, August 2014
*This serial murder case from the beginning of 1998 was made into a TV series and broad-casted all over China in 1999 and 2000. The police gun mentioned in the poem was lost on December 1st, 1997, and the case was eventually named after that date. The police in Xi’an were pressured to solve the murders before March 31st, 1998, because US-President Clinton was coming to Xi’an in June. See John Pomfret in the Washington Post.