water-made windows, one closed as the other opens
water is a letter      always thrown farther away
your hand even stretches across the dark to pat your son’s slumber
blood-kin dialect whispers night takes the longest time to be read
eighty years       fluttering moths

                                                                  a fall of rain       composes this note from home
long-sighted glasses and vision taken off       put down on a table
teacup       looks back at the glass of a moment ago
there grandfather roars       a boy faces a betraying bed
move one more inch       revolution swollen with the bright red-green of kid’s voices

there       a blue and white meiping vase, by the wildness it contains
is crushed       dad       the rhymes of your life
still carry your son’s hearing       stuck close to an eleven-year-old wall
they force out a voice unlike yours
weak       but denying       aloof from the red-armband

affair       yellow-green asparagus ferns       denying
in the guts of words lies a century swept over by blankness
to be weak as crescent moon or stranger       future to be like body temperature
surging into the tip of this pen       you send yourself by registered mail
the closer the recipient

                                              writing       the more like a blinding leaving of the banquet
oh, gloom       fills a quiet corner of the eye
your son’s blood dipping in that smiling drop of yours
letter in reply       aims at the grid tape where
the world starts running       the heartbeat you give will be in tune with you

the tongue tip you give licks       then       cancels
the salty taste of mother’s death       deaths       pile up into half a mortal life
dad       there’s no guide in this tunnel       your greatest transcendent bliss
is to seal tight an envelope       let the voices be stilled like a silkworm
knitting all night its silky cocoon —‘all’s       well’


Translated from the Chinese by Brian Holton and Agnes Hung-Chong Chen