A Chinaman’s Chance
Hezekiah Chang was 15, we are told;
an honor student at McClatchy School.
His family came to the United States
from China, where his parents had been
forced to perform hard labor during the days
of the Cultural Revolution. They were both
teachers, well educated intellectuals, yet
believers in the One True God of the Bible.
Mao’s secular cruelty could not suppress
their faith that Jesus would bless them
and watch over them, as they struggled
to remain alive, despite the many terrors
that they suffered, until that moment
two decades ago, when they became
Americans in the land called Gold Mountain.
Hezekiah was their first-born, a strong boy!
Intelligent, handsome, a natural student,
Hezekiah excelled in math, studied piano,
volunteered after school at the hospital,
attended to his parents wishes that he
become the proud son they had hoped for.
He would graduate, study medicine,
become a doctor, marry a Chinese girl,
in the custom of their family and ancestors.
Hezekiah was viewed by others at school
as a nerdy little yellow creep, all except
for one girl, a young Latina, also bright,
but the daughter of atheistic Chilean socialists
and former Sandinista migrants, now American.
Seeing in each other things denied their peers
Hezekaiah and the girl grew to value each other,
unknown to both sets of their parents.
Last week, Hezekiah and the girl left school
to study together at the end of the day,
walking in the parking lot when shots rang out,
reverberating off the brick walls of the school.
The bullets of an automatic weapon caught
them both. A car sped off. A random crime.
Hezekiah died there, as did she. No one knows
why, to this day, they were singled out.
A Chinaman’s chance. America the Beautiful!
The next day, Hezekaih’s mother was heard
to remark that it had been God’s will, that
He had had some greater plan for them that
somehow transcended our human understanding.
The girl’s parents were less forgiving, cursing
the implacable chaos of this Godless world
with all its barbarity and brutal, random cruelty.
Somewhere, faint hollow laughter echoes,
wafting through the mind like a ghostly breeze.
But is it Godlike, or is it human? We should be in
no hurry to find out the answer to that single
unanswered question, although we suspect
there is nothing to learn and no way of knowing;
no way of making any sense of what appears
to be…a Chinaman’s chance.