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Syndic Literary Journal


Written by Chen Si’an

Translated from the Chinese by Jami Proctor Xu

Narrated by Jami Proctor Xu



Imagination is a shield

that can also be an indistinct rope

tying together your exhales and my inhales

The moment it is stretched tight, it loosens


As soon as one thinks of how it hangs in invisible tension,

it is no longer a shield

It is simply a breeze no one is willing to name

Once it is named it loses buoyancy


The music encircling your whole body right now

penetrates the tip of your tongue     soaks my skin

It turns out the time that cannot be obtained is pale violet,

it can only play the strings longing can’t reach


The breeze cannot catch the moon   it is finally prepared

to rename everything

The shadow that can’t be expelled is called      from the forest

Evasion that can be delayed is called  inevitable


I can only close my eyes    inhale that breath again and again

and lock this breeze in my chest


Chen Si’an is a playwright, theatre director, poet, short story writer, and literary translator. She has written four collections of short stories and ten plays. Her plays have been performed at the Royal Court Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival, National Theatre Company of China, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, Beijing International Fringe Festival, among other venues. She’s the executive editor of Wings Poetry, and founder and artistic director of the Sound and Fury Play Reading Festival.
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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