Poem Beginning with Lines from Ye Hongxiang*

Jack Underwood

I’ve leaned towards the edge of the sky along the curved railings;
where the sun falls aslant on the gaunt green hills…
How will I survive the moonrise for one more evening,
or the sound of dew dripping from my leaking parasol
when it would be so much easier to die and die
and keep on dying? To factor the losses: sorely missed,
or not so much; returning more determined to love,
or not so much; nothing but a light, baroque sleep,
empty for the fire, for the mulch… A year, a month,
a cool day later, then back upon the threshold,
breathing deep, and welcome, full of contrition, air
and water. To think, tomorrow could be another life.




* as adapted from Kang-i Sun Chang and Charles Kwong’s translation