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Manoa 15.1 (2003) 158-160

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Three Poems

Hsia YĆ¼(Xia Yu)

Don't You Feel the Morning Becomes Her?

for Yan for a Senegalese woman

Don't you feel
The morning becomes her?
Don't you feel that it becomes her?
For instance
Opening an old cookie tin becomes her
Reading all the old damp letters
She is the very image of a cork
In a wine bottle. Don't you feel that
Bolting 'cross a starry sky becomes her?
Having a will of her own becomes her
And other things become her too. For instance
A graceful fall becomes her
Don't you feel that you could rub her right away
She is just that kind of ink
But then you find her thumbprint reappearing right before your eyes
Don't you feel that
Rubbing becomes her?
Don't you feel that
Coming in the morning becomes her? [End Page 158]

Scenario for a Tango

Our story opens on a converted river barge lost in mist
Where we find our protagonist who makes this barge her home
Hard at work on a romantic horror thriller
She had started out to write a sort of "Grand Guignol"
But the romantic interests of the story wound up
Taking over until the air of horror
All but disappeared
Drifting down the long inland waterways she often docks at some
Little town or other to post the new installments of her novel
(Did I mention it was a serial?) or replenish her stores or stories
And every time she runs across someone who strikes her fancy
She invites them to join her on the river where she pries from them
Their most passionate and terrifying experience
But whenever the storytellers start to bore her she lures them
      to the railing
And drowns them in the river where the water runs deep
Now and then her story drifts into shamelessly racy waters
But each time she manages to pilot a chapter safely into port
She turns to that imagined voyeur with a "Schmilblick avance!"
And so moving on we find her vessel listing in the waves until
Her words incline to sweeping themes her story is set adrift
Conversations left piled upon the rocks characters lost at sea
And we cut to terra firma to find our heroine
Fairly hurrying to the dentist
Close-up of the writer sitting in a dental waiting room
Filling out an order form for an encyclopedia she found
Flipping through the latest issue of Voyeur
Any moment may find her tempting the unsuspecting
Stranger to step on board to tell their tale unless of course...
But then we are familiar with her modus operandi
Even the river can find neither head nor heels of
All those people she literally wrote off but
When her tale is done her boat emerges from the spectral fog
And the spirits of those many artless storytellers gather round
Lay hands to oars and with one great breath fill her sails
And set her craft in motion [End Page 159]
How the many murderous devices authored in this all-too-lyrical
Have led our heroine off the straight and narrow to the mouth
Of this river where in the guise of a wolf she gazes out into the offing
And we track to the familiar face of the water in which once again we
See those astonished victims drowning in her inverted reflection
As it morphs into the very image of a wolf
Howling for its mate

A Personal Hell

to Borges

When sleepwalkers chance to
Come across each other their dreams
Intermingle like two clouds converging
And it rains and one of the sleepers
Wakes inside a room and
Opens his eyes and says: "It is raining"
Never knowing that his nocturnal wanderings have landed him in
Some other person's home wearing some other person's shoes
Which for some odd reason fit as snugly as his own
Wearing some other person's clothes sitting down to breakfast
At some other person's table with some other person's significant


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pp. 158-160
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