Subway harp by Zhang Zao



Let us stop in mid-journey, no light either side

The cutlery ghosts of the dining car pinging wildly

Or let us walk out onto ground level

Living corpses dead on escalators

I remain your groom. Verging on thirty

My index fingers trying their best to put on weight

A drunken monkey peach in my pocket

Me: just one of the human race, more mysterious than flame

Ten years later, walking out onto ground level from faraway

Sidling up to a shaking desk to write you

A love letter. California’s eight o’clock ladies-style jacket

Lightly sugared sunlight licking dark circles under your eyes

You walk out onto ground level, and when I shift aside the vase

Evolution’s shadow glues the heels of multi-coloured

Masks together. The evening bell tolls, lying itself down

In a glass of overturned milk: oh, harp

The milk harp tunes its strings tightly earthwards

Stretched to breaking point and, when I vacantly occupy the bedside

I seem to touch that locomotive speeding on its way to you

Strumming like some strange monster a separate reality

Zhang Zao

Translated by Simon Patton


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