Moonlight Pours on Li Bai's Bedside and He Thinks It's Frost
I turn my face to the window. In my sleepless
eyes the moon multiplies. Mom
hand washes our clothes on the balcony again.
She kneads, brushes, twists and drains.
Sometimes she stops for a loud sneeze.
Nobody says Bless you back home.
Half-bucket of water splashes my dream.
Smooth on one side, the soap scents my skin,
my hair, my ears, my neck.
Listen, before you toss and turn again:
Unleash your desire,
see how far you can chase it.
Nothing Falls on the Fisherman's Dream
Soon the sea's colors will lap away
as clouds mount over low ribs of sky.
The fisherman reels his heavy rod and heads home
with empty boxes, feeling content.
Soon the town will warm up,
kitchens clinking, doors swinging,
men arriving. A few human voices rise
as the moon ebbs and the tide wanes.
The last stranded fish let go
of its fortune. It becomes all quiet again.
Soon the night will begin grinding the opaque water，
underneath, currents are warming each other.
No language is adequate for this communication.
Nothing falls on the fisherman's dream.
Struggler, look up, eye a target in front.
Walk here, now here, always follow a straight route.
Let your limp feet tread through camel manure
and skeletons gathered like firewood. Don't look,
don't look down. Plough the invisible map,
inch closer and closer towards the well
inching away. You see, as if real, a green sea
turns and turns up its bright corals--look beyond
and move forward. Don't stop until you see
a pond of sky, its clear water lilting down
to a far village. As your chapped lips resume
pronouncing, your deep, sweet throat
tries and tries not to swallow the sweeter lie:
that you'll never die.
LIUYU CHEN is a bilingual (Chinese and English) writer and translator. She was born and raised in Zhejiang, China, and has studied and lived in Beijing, Kentucky, California, and now in New York. She received a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature from Beijing Language and Culture University, and an MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from New York University. Liuyu was selected for the 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Immigrant Artist Program. Her poems have appeared in Hanging Loose Magazine and elsewhere. Liuyu is also an active translator, and she has completed translation projects for The Asia Society, the Museum of Chinese in America, among others. Beyond her interest in writing and translation, Liuyu is also passionate about humanitarian causes. She is currently interning at the United Nations Population Fund advocating for universal reproductive health and rights of women and girls.