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  • Red-Fruited Hawthorn, and: Wolf Skin, and: Avenging Deer, and: Grass Effigy
  • Aku Wuwu (bio)
    Translated by Mark Bender (bio)

red-fruited hawthorn

Treading the fallen leaves,I returned to Salem.Before my arrival,the autumn windhad taken away all this year's leavesfrom the trees.

Left are all the red berriesshining with a naked brightness.All the poison juices of the bodymake the sunlight of this town surprisinglypiercing.

The people in Salemplanted trees bearing poisonous fruitsmerely out of appreciation,desiring a kind ofpoison-rich beauty. [End Page 1]

wolf skin

At an Indian folklife festival,a white man in Indian array of wolf skin,was dancing sincerely around a sacred drum.I could not ask himwhether he had any Indian bloodfor he seemed too solemn and stately.

An old Indian man nearby told mein a plain deep voiceas long as one puts on a wolf skin heis either our enemyor one of our folk.A wolf is the animalhurting us the most and isalso a divine animalwe always worship.

Neither an enemy of the Indians,nor their fellow folk,yet, longed toput on the magic Indian wolf skin.

Suddenly,in the center of the wolf skinI spotteda smallbullet hole. [End Page 2]

avenging deer

In North Americadeer and humansenjoy the same modern civilization.

In the daytime, deer live infertile meadowsand tranquil woods.

At night they always want to go to townto hear rock and rollto see happy people.

The entire cityexcept for houses of different styles andthe magnificent churchesis but a patchwork of meadow,and deer rush in from the four directions.

Deer, desirous of civilization,deer, to ascertain the meaning of civilizationspeak for, search for an eternal roadrushing towards the ever-pale highwayunder the moon.

The spurring carshelp deer realize their dreamswithout exception.

At dawn, on the meadows along the highway,the deer draw pictureswith their frozen bodiesthat even God above cannot see.

My memory flashes back to the Yi lands,to those who regain dignity bypaying the price with their life,hurting their enemy by hurting themselves;those daring avengers face death unflinchingly,those innocents akin to suicidal deer.My heart knows those deer tooare groups of avengers. [End Page 3]

In those moments before dawn,the wounded souls of thoseavenging deerrush to nearby towns and villageswith those magnificent and mysterious churches.

grass effigy

In the mountain hamlets,those who know how to makethe tied grass effigies,who know how to do the grass effigy rituals,number more than the ant eggs beneath the stone slabs.Thus, in expanses big or smallof forestbelow the villagesown there by seeds from airplanesthe trees seem like bunches of spiderscarrying their eggs,seem like married women in the fieldscarrying their children as they plant.

But, in the mountain hamlets,when children cry within the home,and the cuckoo calls without,then cries of those "pine tree children"day by day turn to duff;and for this, four seasons of the year,the sounds of the wind in the pine forests,grows ever greener.

And though people have ears,they don't hear it;and though they have eyes,they don't see it.

Once the effigies were ritually sent off,the matron of the family felt things were safe.But, when the hearth fire verbosely crackled,the agitated matronwithdrew the half-burnt sticks,then stuck them into the water withinthe hog slop trough. [End Page 4]

Not long after,the brother of the matron of the home slipped along the way,falling into and drowning within the waters.This bad news was spread by the wind,and her laments were like puttingcold water on a fire to kill it.

The red-footed grass is cut and grows,is cut and grows;The grass effigies in the pine forests—the old are followed by the new,the old are followed by the new. . .In the past, among the twelve sons...


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