Illustration by Anne Le Guern

a child licks the candy wrapper; the treat has fallen into the mud.
those who sing romance of west chamber under wintersweet trees, nearly all lonely elders.

the stones cast into the lake, all of them have returned to shore.
the wilted flowers, blooming from the tips of branches once more.

tents leaking in a storm, not the fault of the rain.
melons and fruits rotting and decaying, not the will of the weather.

please let winds return to the wind’s midst, let lightning hide in the sleeves.
love returns to the act of loving, two little fingers hooked onto one another.

when the hands of clocks have stopped moving
the repairer of time, they are already on their way here.

Read the original poem in Chinese here.

Xiao Xi

Xiao Xi 小西 is a poet based in Qingdao in Shandong, China. Her poems have appeared in dozens of Chinese literary journals such as People’s Literature, Poetry Journal, October, and elsewhere, as well as been featured in numerous anthologies. She is the author of two poetry books in Chinese, titled Blue Salt《蓝色的盐》and The Wind Would Not Cease《风不止》respectively. Her work has won various awards in China, including the esteemed Red Sorghum Poetry Prize.

Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang (she/they) is a writer, poet, and Chinese-English translator. Her writing has appeared in Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, The Malahat Review, Grain, CV2, The Toronto Star, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the David T.K. Wong Fellowship, longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, and was the recipient of a 2021 ALTA Virtual Travel Fellowship. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Magazine, Guernica, Asymptote, LA Review of Books, China Channel, Samovar, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop 2021.