Jiang Hao trans. by Chenxin Jiang
spring festival poem
The machine clamors happily,
straining soy milk from the Milky Way
that courses through you.
Bread blackens in the oven.
Breadcrumbs everywhere, like shredded paper,
the sparrows pecking at them.
Rinse an apple in running water.
Its juice flows like gutter oil from the tap.
Eggs sit on the plate, meditating.
Their shells have cracked,
the egg whites and yolks hardened.
That’s what I’m having for breakfast.
During reruns of yesterday’s variety show,
firecrackers caper outside the window,
like workers demanding back pay, contractors skipping town,
or a bureaucrat throwing himself off a skyscraper?
I owe some people season’s greetings
so I’m holed up at home, texting,
my fingers skipping across the touch screen,
cutting newly grown prefixes off words.
Jiang Hao's "Spring Festival poem" can also be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 4.
Jiang Hao was born in Chongqing in 1971. He has worked variously as a reporter, newspaper editor, university lecturer, and graphic designer in Beijing, Chengdu, Ürümqi, as well as Hainan Island, off China’s south coast, where he now lives. He is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Poems of a Wandering Immortal / Natural History Poems (2016).
Chenxin Jiang translates from German, Italian, and Chinese. Her translations have received several awards, including a PEN Translation Fund grant and the Susan Sontag Prize for Translation. Chenxin is the senior editor for Sinophone writing at Asymptote, a journal of contemporary literature in translation.