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April 1, 2012 vol 8 no 1

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Jianqing Zheng

Shooting Star

We lay on the playground looking up at the stars in the sky. Someone shouted, "A shooting star!" This was what we used to do at boarding school when power was cut off during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Back then, the whole country was in want of power. Power for reading; power for jobs; to some, power for politics. The school was walled, and we were not allowed to hang out. Faculty lived on campus too. Sometimes we would beg a teacher to tell us about history, about our great leader Chairman Mao, about his heroic stories and his talent shown in military victories over Chiang Kaishek; we never doubted that he was wise when he started the Cultural Revolution, which in fact was an anti-cultural and violently political one. We were never taught about critical thinking but instead to blindly follow our great leader; we thought Mao was the reddest sun that never set. But, we had so many nights without power with the bright moon and the sparkling stars. The whole country lived in darkness.

summer night—
we exclaim in joy
at the first firefly