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  • Autumn in an Almost-No-Town, and: In a Quarry, and: A Peninsula Facing the East
  • Li Heng (bio)
    Translated by Ming Di (bio)

autumn in an almost-no-town

There are eleven shapes of autumnmoving in the wind from south to northexchanging forty names. Palm trees,sycamore trees, and poplar treesspeak at the same time of the same cloudy, darksky. Clouds hang, and descend like waterfalls.They want to return somewhere. The river?All of a sudden, the sky starts to circlelike a bamboo sieve sifting grains from the sunshineabove. The pedestrians walk slowly,forever hungry, forever looking upward.

in a quarry

Every day I dream the same dreams,passing through a quarry at midnight.Stones burst open, cut, ground,carried away along a thin cable in midair.Anguish comes from the interiorof the stones, the indivisible core of darkness.Everything wears downwhen shared, but not pain.It comes freely like the fallof a solid stone, painful but pure. [End Page 58]

a peninsula facing the east

When rocks expand like vegetation,eastward, eastward,tourists get less crowded here.

You draw in the wind an outline of a peninsula,fold it—an increasingly clear rimof twilight.

You walk into the center of the twilight. Itmoves with you eastward, in a shimmering,dimming gleam like a candlelight.

I open and spread you, the in-the-wind entity,a faint blue thing,and extend it to a dark-green bay.

From four to seven p.m., I repeatedly fold, open,shaped and unshaped. [End Page 59]

Li Heng

Li Heng 黎衡 was born in Shiyan, Hubei province, in 1986. His awards include the Liu Li-an Poetry Prize, the Weiming Poetry Prize, the China Times Literary Award, and the DJS–Poetry East West Award. He works as a journalist in Guangzhou.

Ming Di

Ming Di 明迪 is a Chinese poet based in the U.S. She attended Boston College and Boston University, where she taught Chinese. She has published six books of poetry in Chinese along with a collaborative translation, River Merchant's Wife (2012). She co-translated The Book of Cranes by Zang Di (2015) with Neil Aitken, and Empty Chairs: Selected Poems by Liu Xia (2015) with Jennifer Stern, which was a finalist for the 2016 Best Translation Book Award. She edited and co-translated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (2013) and New Poetry from China 1917–2017 (2019). In 2013 and 2014, she received Henry Luce Foundation fellowships. A co-founder of Poetry East West journal, she serves as the China editor for Poetry International Rotterdam. She has also translates from English into Chinese, most recently Observations by Marianne Moore (2018).



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