Hsia Yü

Written For Others

I write a Chinese character in the palm of his hand
Making it as intricate as I can in the interest of
Arousing his interest write it wrong so I can rub
It out and write it right from scratch stroke by stroke
Drawing him into one pictographic raft after another
Until I let the air out of the raft and we sink
Into the lake until I say I love you
With neither root nor branch nor a nest to rest
I love you I love you and I slow us down
Until we barely move at all until we hear
The very mesh of the gears upon our flesh
There is a cone of light that bares the fact that whoever
Invented the motion picture did so just so we would turn
Down the lights and learn to make love like this
In slow motion and in the slowest possible motion
I love you as we slowly
Dissolve into grains of light I love you
Until we then turn wafer thin
Without end
O I love you
I love you
Until we come to be strangers to ourselves
So that others will come to imagine
They have seen through us

Translated from Chinese by Steve Bradbury.