By Un Sio San

Translated by Jeremy Tiang

from Issue 24
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Such a dazzling autumn day, the trees in shabby garments
Someone’s gaze is frozen so he perspires grossly
Only light can prance as freely as a horse

Little sister strolls in the water, I bathe on the shore
Someone extends his arm, a snake’s protruding tongue
The straw mat covered in spilled apples and virtue

Lustful paint fixes stacked legs as gymnastics or dance
And autumn leaves spread wide the forgiving wilderness
Providing cover for a thousand suspicious leopards.

Countless keys slide into greased keyholes
How many times have men’s eyes, bourgeoisie-genteel,
Relieved little sister and me of our coats?

Sister is always a rain-slick snail, glistening throughout with fragile light
While I, before her prince, brandish a cactus, a length of silk,
Haggling over the rate and number of his infidelities

But in this bright countryside, my body is her chamber
And the balloon of thought grows ever vaster
Absorbing ever more oxygen, desire, torment, hatred

Oh sister, in this whole universe
No living things are talked about more than we
And here amidst nature, I the poet have taken pains to keep matters brief


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, 裸體野餐 from 裸體野餐, Hong Kong: 香港中文大學出版社/ The Chinese University Press, 2013.

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