on all but a few afternoons I withdraw
tides from edges, dikes, piers
when I do so, the wind ruffles crazily
leaves onshore, as if they are all mad
gulls tread in the mangroves
looking closely into things
the rain is a mirror
are the trees by the lake more glossy
or does the brightened lake make them seem so?
the blackbird flies to the wet black bough
the tungsten-haloed trunk is growing
two possible destinies, one: it might be felled for furniture
the other: ants may slowly claim it
the dazzling sunset through patchy cloud
the street light contracts its pupil
after rain the trunk puts on
ear fungi shoot up in tattered shapes
also two destinies for them, one: birds may feed on them
the other: leeches may come for their black blood
From the cloister I can see outside
where a gardener is mowing.
An electric blade whirls across the long grass.
Why must it be so loud just to swallow paper-thin leaves?
The sprinkling water sizzles. This damp
of the cut grass will evaporate into air.
An unseen truck changes gear,
dark smoke belches continuously.
No firecrackers, nothing to celebrate
but the golden wheat that needs to be harvested.
The driver is always a man,
face obscured with a wide-brimmed hat.
A dried-up earthworm is run over
by the wheels of the truck.
These sounds bring me back to the sea.
On the ferry commuting between two islands,
rough droning from underneath.
The ferry is always overcrowded. It always rides unsteadily.
Now right, now left, now forward, now backward.
3:25pm in the afternoon. I walk far far away
until the gardener and the lawn mower are left behind.
This world is all quiet. Not even a bird is heard.
Only the sun, with vehemence, shines.
Xia Fang, born in 1986, is a bilingual poet and translator. She has published two collections of translated poems and her own poetry has appeared and is forthcoming in The Postcolonial Text and Marathon Literary Review. A View of the Sky Tunnel (ASM) is her first book of poetry. Her early written work was influenced by new life experiences, including the move to a new environment, in Macao. Xia completed her MA in translation studies in 2013. Now she is working towards her PhD degree in literary studies at the University of Macau.