Translated by Jeremy Tiang
I dreamt I was watching a disaster film.
I bought popcorn and picked my seat—slightly left of center—
No one had brought a kid along.
Anyway, this wasn’t real.
Close up: a Mumbai sports shoe factory, a child worker.
He’s learned Math, the English alphabet, this world and the third world,
His bleeding fingers a red pen correcting his worth.
The frozen river, in its bottomless depths
Completes its burial rites.
Wide shot: scorching winds blow, wafting
Resounding farts from corn-fed cattle.
At this moment, someone called out:
This is blatantly an art house film!
Such dreary storylines—
You’re killing me here.
The film drew to a close, a hundred years had passed.
Production credits began their crawl. We slowly departed.
Everyone seemed immensely satisfied
That their names appeared right at the end.
Un Sio San is a poet and essayist from Macau who has published collections in Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau and Mainland China, winning several awards including the Macau Literature Prize. She has degrees from Peking University and the University of Toronto, and draws from both Western and Asian influences.
Jeremy Tiang has received a 2016 NEA Literary Translation Fellowship, as well as PEN/Heim and National Museum of Taiwan Literature grants. He has translated novels and collections by Zhang Yueran, Yan Geling, Yu Qiuyu, Su Wei-chen, You Jin and Yeng Pway Ngon. His short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was published by Epigram Books in 2015. He also writes and translates plays, most recently A Dream of Red Pavilions (adapted from Hong Lou Meng).
Original text: 袁绍珊, 我夢見我在看一部災難片 from Wonderland, Taipei: 遠景出版事業有限公司/ Vista Publishing, 2011.