Translated by Ye Chun, Melissa Tuckey, and Fiona Sze-Lorrain
I sat on a knoll,
thinking I was sitting on a white cloud.
Just like that, I slept for twenty years.
Now I’m awake,
I see they’ve cut the white cloud into geometric fragments,
placed them in elaborate gift boxes,
and brought them to the market for sale.
Warm spring wind.
A dirty child at the railway station
and a sloppy old man.
They’re fighting for an empty beer bottle
someone threw away.
Like a wild cat, the child
jumps in front of the old man,
grabs this five-cent object.
He gets it,
but doesn’t smile.
He stamps it flat
and tosses it into a snake-skinned bag.
He lifts his face up.
So dark, so dirty!
Savage and stubborn,
like today’s life!
walks away like nothing happened,
mumbling old man who stands aside.
Looks like it’ll rain.
(From a dream some days ago)
Father came back.
In my dream,
my long-departed father came back.
But why was the room leaking rain?
Why were all the people in the room strangers?
That night I drank too much coffee.
I dreamed such a strange dream
just ten minutes after falling asleep.
When I woke up, I felt a little guilty.
Why didn’t I repair the roof for Father?
Why didn’t I sweep the water out of the room
or ask those strangers
who they were, what they wanted?