so strong a wind
blows from the facing mountain range
to the hanging apron in the kitchen,
the roof swings along like a rusty pendulum.
we are farthest from the ambulance
in the street and the cemetery in front of the mountains,
just as we love the peony-embroidered apron,
we love every colored illustration of history.
there is a kettle and a few bottles of wine,
a pear, its moisture sucked dry by the air,
and the chopping board rests modestly next to the water pipes.
in the sunlight,
the kitchen looks like a wild duck combing its feathers.
the kitchen looks very much like its owner,
or his lover’s vanishing hands.
strong winds flip open cupboards.
and blow the apron down by his feet.
scrape grime by the stove,
the box of desire opened brighter by autumn,
we need to sprinkle salt more calmly on wilted grass,
and stir pepper into sleep.
a powerful wind,
brings a special kind of gold
to give to the jewelry maker.
we wait merely in respite between hungers,
what to accept, what is worth a meticulous description.
Zhu Zhu was born in Yangzhou, P.R. China. He is a poet, critic and curator of art exhibitions and has published numerous volumes of poetry and prose, such as Drive to Another Planet, Salt on Wilted Grass, Blue Smoke, The Trunk, Stories, Vertigo, and Grey Carnival—Chinese Contemporary Art since 2000. Zhu’s honors include Liu Li’an and Anne Kao national poetry prizes, the French International Poetry Val-de-Marne Fellowship, Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Critics and Henry Luce Foundation Chinese Poetry Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center.
Dong Li was born and raised in P.R. China. His honors include fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude 2015-2017, German Chancellery–Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2015-2016, PEN/Heim Translation Fund, The Corporation of Yaddo and elsewhere. He has poems in Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, Cincinnati Review, manuskripte (Austria, in German translation), and others, as well as translations in World Literature Today, PEN America, Guernica and others. His book-length translation of the Chinese poet Zhu Zhu The Wild Great Wall will be published by Phoneme Media in late 2017. His trilingual anthology of contemporary American, Chinese and German poetry in response to a poem by the late C.D. Wright will be forthcoming from the German independent publisher Matthes&Seitz Berlin in the fall of 2017.