Tong Wei

Translated by Stephen Haven and Li Yongi

from Issue 24
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Whose penetrating fingers
Manipulate her little heart?
She speaks of an orphaned
Homunculus perched
On the tip of a flower.

Trees stretching into the sky
Race past, crowned with antlers.
The blue mirror breaks.

Hands like caterpillars from trees
Dangling down to the grass.
She pulls at the string of light,
That little black heart craving for the moon,
Rattling in the silver box.

I’m sewing—
In her broken sobs
Sewing a mask of time
Onto her smiling cheekbones.
I’m transplanting the wound
Into the mirror of morning.

Little puppet, little puppet,
Your mouth no longer cries for surprise,
Eyelashes of light
Peel off
Your gloomy shoulders,
Your crossed, overlapped hands
Sliding into my seamless skull
Sewn into
An inhuman thing.


Tong Wei was born in Beijing in 1956. She has published two volumes of poetry: When the Horse Turns Its Head (1988) and Revenges on Dream Addicts (2012).

Stephen Haven is the author of The Last Sacred Place in North America, winner of the New American Press Poetry Prize, and two previous collections of poetry. He directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Ashland University, in Ohio.

Li Yongyi is Professor of English at Chongqing University, in Chongqing China. He is the author of one collection of poems, Swordsman Poet Phanton, and has translated fourteen books into Chinese from English, French and Latin, including Catullus’s Carmina.

Original text: 小木偶 and 小木马 from Revenges on Dream Addicts Guilin: Lijiang River Press, 1988.

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