Phoenix Tree 梧桐二题
The courtyard opens to a pool
of vegetables. To the right, a pigsty,
behind it to the left stands
A phoenix tree, which marks
the edge of a barnyard.
I walk into the summer, from the gate
of morning, into the night. Where the Milky Way lies,
the sky, the expansion below, the night.
Little fires fly from the water and reeds
lower than the ground. They shuttle back and forth
in the folktales flickering behind the pipes.
That was my childhood.
We were like newly relegated fairies, not knowing
whether it was the human world or the paradise
that we were living in.
The children now nickname each other as
October almost over. The barks of phoenix trees
Begin to peel, showing albino patches.
I have been back for two weeks,
And I am still a guest in my hometown.
The new wife married in the first month of the year,
With a big stomach in late pregnancy
Appears to have been living here longer than me.
Everyday, she waddles to the field,
And to the pond to wash clothes and vegetables
With a dog by her, in the welcome of the pigs
And wafts of stench.
My enquiries always bring her to smiles and
She would answer with an added tag
"How can we compare with you townsmen?"
There are no men and grown-up girls in the villages,
And they have all gone to the city, living
in the villages in ghettos, where no women can be seen.
I hope to tell her
There is not much a city can compare with the countryside,
Except for neon lights and debauched air.
But this truth is only mine.
My truth untold has already made me a hypocrite.
Oct. 23, 2006