I won't ask foolish questions, such asWhy must the dog run?It could refuse to run.
I also won't ask, for instance,Why pursue a mechanical bunny?It could refuse to go faster.
The song of progress blares out loudIt is the work of machines to wear the animals down.I, too, ran on that track, sunning away my childhood,Now the grind of work pummels and pulls me apart.
The gate flies opens, and someoneKeeps striking the starting gong, a beehive. Women sit wearing hats, even late at night,I sit too, ten fingers tapping my keyboardA greyhound in its sandpit, legs pounding round its circuit, its hell.
As if those on the field were just waiting for the show to end,As if they were to curve into a question mark and that was the answer,As if the world were only black and white,Only owners and workers, gamblers and gawkers.
In their World of Difference, they perform their noisy pantomime.As for us, their loyal friends,When we ask for a response, they lift a leg. [End Page 121]
Un Sio San 袁紹珊 was born in Macau. She has won numerous awards, including the Luce Foundation fellowships and the Macau Literature Prize. Her poetry collections include Here (2011), Exile in the Blossom Time (2008), and Wonderland (2001). Her latest essay collection is Boisterous Islands.
Jeremy Tiang has translated more than ten books from Chinese. He has been awarded a PEN/ Heim Grant, an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship, and a People's Literature Award Mao-Tai Cup. His short-story collection It Never Rains on National Day was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize.