Poem: Becak Driver

Calf muscles bulging, hard, straight
Wheels peddles backbone straining great
One whole family seated under the roof
His foot on the peddle whirling, or is it a hoof?
The grimace while he bargains
The sad smile as he counts his gains
The laughter as they smoke kretek together
Men, poverty’s burden to the peddle does tether.

Burden borne but not by them made
People, rice, bricks, all carried for others’ trade
Aches, sweat and aging pay more than their way
Caresses, children’s tears, dreams of freedom, as tired at night they lay.

Photo by Toby Carroll.

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