Snow, I was surprised. The first snow
choked in my throat,
I wanted to cough, to run
from snow.
I didn’t see the street, the poplars, the park-benches
the conductor’s whistle. Snow.
Faces of idiots abused the air
and turned to snow.
I didn’t have a chance to read the “Massacre”
or “The Dead” by Joyce.
I didn’t know death and snow
are colleagues.
I was three that year, Mother threw me up in the air, a tree in the yard.
Now we don’t live in snow—
Mother’s nostrils don’t breathe. 1982.

Translated from the Chinese by Katie Farris with Ming Di

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