Dining in Hohhot

At three o’clock
a lonely lady,
more girl, still, than grown woman,
taking selfies in which her botox lips suggest a promiscuous innocence
to a sea of digital strangers.
To the left, another one by herself, scrawny body with swollen belly,
a finished meal and a finite look,
holding on tight to a prescription sheet
with perhaps a final answer
–definitely lacking a smile.
Toward one o’clock,
a couple dressed as business partners
–or the other way around–
and the table burdened with the finest of foods, drinks, and a smoking pipe,
her waiting for him to get off the phone,
though he answers call after call.
Over toward the eleventh hour,
two young ladies meeting up,
and ordering plate after plate after plate after plate
to feed an army at least,
but taking only little bites,
will the rest go entirely to waste?

Perhaps these observations are hopelessly blurred
and bleed into judgement calls
but absurd it’s all still nonetheless
and empty of meaningful ties.
Is there an escape
before time runs out
to stay out of digital dungeons
and head toward the prairies wide
with the ancestors’ compass and map?
Or is it all ahead of us
and already in total control?
We cannot know
and will never find out
if we don’t stop, look up and see.