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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



After thirty-one years   you still find it unbelievable

the moon will only be full that day


The fourteen billion-year-old universe has limitless stars spinning

but is limited to only one romantic day

Or is it the exact opposite


On the moon where Chang’E and Chang’E 1 coexist,

the unmoving vacuum stirs your childhood imagination


The year you learned to recite that the moon waxes and wanes,

in geography class they were explaining why one side of the moon is always dark


Did Armstrong burst into

the Moon Palace Su Shi was gazing at


Later you knew in the country where you grew up,

throughout history   people have obsessed over love that needs to be tested


And thus there is only one elixir for immortality

and the magpie bridge only built to meet for one day


And thus you begin to understand

why the moon can only be full on one day


And thus you begin to be willing

to accept all things you can only test once


The melody rises up, babbling in the wilderness

The moon   is the brightness of home

Home  is only in your lover’s heart


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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