- Food Is Running Out
Food is running outI have to tell youwhat we are facingCorn, wheat, potatoesand rice, all these we live onbut never produce are gone. Hunger comeslike the fireworks you've never seenHunger is the food tomorrow gives us todayBut before it's completely darkand the sun not set, the mountains are already blackDon't say this is the last banquetwhere you need to be dressed upDon't say the knives and forks and platesare just being manufacturedBefore the moon has come out, wehave an opportunity to be opportunistsWe can step into the autumn rice fieldsin the South, or the stormsThere will always be a way to the distant warehouseThere will always be robbers and a furious judgeThere will always be coffins and verses of praiseThere will always be rice when we wake up from sleepin the properties stolen by the mousein the lullabies the peasants are no longer singingin the hands of the beggars, between their fingersThe rice will fly up with the ghosts of our ancestors, andland in a paddy field of moist wordsAll night, in the darknesssurrounded by fatigue, I wait [End Page 138] for one word after another to sproutBefore they open up, flowering, growing intogreat lines on Du Fu's mustaches,or clear moonlight in Li Bai's glass—I pick them up and quickly stuff them into my mouthFood is running outI stretch out my hands and turn to TimeI know I'm more hungry than the rice granaryand more fatigued—will you cry for me [End Page 139]
Xiao Shui 肖水 was born in Chenzhou, Hunan province, in 1980. He has a degree in law and Chinese literature from Fudan University. He lives and works in Shanghai. His books include Lost and Found, Chinese Class, and Chinese Mugwort: New Jueju Poetry.
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).