Dear Reader Are You Having a Good Day?
Dear reader are you having a good day?
A well-written novel is so powerful so heartless
A well-written novel can make you cruel look on suffering as if it were nothing
Like a gaffed shark so maddened by the sight of its own blood
Pouring from a wound that it bends round and begins devouring itself
Then morphs into a symbol and a metaphor
Painful feats of every kind all manner of as-if-it-were-nothings . . .
I heard someone say that when I turned ten I gave up writing
That sure is something to set you thinking
A lousy novel can also set you thinking and then some
Of course a lousy movie can do the same
Dear reader but if you really want something to set you thinking
Surely this metaphor will do in a pinch
Like the fashion designer who explains how his 200-meter long folded crepe cloak
Took 2000 hours the total for the satin chiffon
Outfit some 3300 hours when you tally in the hand-stitched embroidering
Sometimes you have to pull the whole thing apart and start from scratch
Translator: Steve Bradbury’s version of Hsia Yü’s fourth collection of poetry, Salsa, will be published by Zephyr Press in early 2014. He lives in Taipei.