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Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No.46 ~ Feng Yan 2

Leaving the Surface

Written by Feng Yan

Translated from the Chinese by Jami Proctor Xu

Narrated by Jami Proctor Xu

China

Leaving the surface, metal enters the stomach from flowing water.
Water droplets then have weight like awls.
The world reflected in the blue light of the soul is translucent;
nuts loosen, protrude from connecting joints.
The nocturnal animals of thoughts search out manholes little by little.
There are oars in your blood;
you begin to row, but there’s no shore.
Night enters desolation in the joints of both legs, gets lost;
a faint coolness, black wind;
ivy sweeps across the glass, sweeps my motionless back,
the redness of fingernails sweeps across the four sides of the ceiling.
The eardrum hides in the silencer’s shadow
and hears riddles swelling in the cells.
In the window’s depths, roots are entangled with DNA;
those people,squirming or playing the qin,* are partially hidden on the back side of the moon.

The light turned off the whole night.
The wind increases its whistling;
a flute conceals some other sounds.
After several hours, your restlessness is carried away by the wings’ gossamer,
the bed drops, in the depths of the subconscious,
do your compatibility with Leos
and doomed relationships with Scorpios still exist?
Have they canceled the warning that the coffee-colored hamster,
who hid itself but flung its tail out, is going extinct?

* a qin is a seven-stringed Chinese zith

 

Leaving the surface, metal enters the stomach from flowing water.
Water droplets then have weight like awls.
The world reflected in the blue light of the soul is translucent;
nuts loosen, protrude from connecting joints.
The nocturnal animals of thoughts search out manholes little by little.
There are oars in your blood;
you begin to row, but there’s no shore.
Night enters desolation in the joints of both legs, gets lost;
a faint coolness, black wind;
ivy sweeps across the glass, sweeps my motionless back,
the redness of fingernails sweeps across the four sides of the ceiling.
The eardrum hides in the silencer’s shadow
and hears riddles swelling in the cells.
In the window’s depths, roots are entangled with DNA;those people, squirming or playing the qin,*
 are partially hidden on the back side of the moon.

The light turned off the whole night.
The wind increases its whistling;
a flute conceals some other sounds.
After several hours, your restlessness is carried away by the wings’ gossamer,
the bed drops, in the depths of the subconscious,
do your compatibility with Leos
and doomed relationships with Scorpios still exist?
Have they canceled the warning that the coffee-colored hamster,
who hid itself but flung its tail out, is going extinct?

* a qin is a seven-stringed Chinese zither

 

Feng Yan is a Chinese poet and essayist who has been publishing her poetry since the 1980s. She has published eight collections of poetry, including Mirror Image, which was named as one of the top ten commercial press books of winter 2016. She has received numerous literary awards including, among others, the Macau Literature Award for prose, the Fourth China Long Poem Award, and the 2021 Zuojia (Writers) Poetry Award. Her works have been translated into several languages, and she has read at poetry festivals around the world. 
Jami Proctor Xu is a bilingual poet and translator. She is the recipient of a Zhujiang Poetry Award and a First Readers Poetry Award. Her translations of Song Lin’s collection, Sunday Sparrows (Zephyr, 2020), received the Northern California Book Award for Poetry in Translation.

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December 2021
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