Yi Lei (1951-2018)
Flame in the cloud at midnight
Blankets my bed with light.
The scent of winter jasmine
Rises from a tomb to meet my eyes.
I watch you as if from my girlhood.
I watch as if from death, anonymous
Beneath a dim sky, holding aloft
The burden of my body. Death,
Bloodless and unfeeling, is familiar.
But what if we could live that way, too?
At the moment, darling,
At the moment I’m a woman without lust.
Moonlight, like new snow,
Covers the hands and feet of night.
Huge strange faces
Fade from my windows and doors.
(Translated, from the Chinese, by Tracy K. Smith and Changtai Bi)