Monday, November 1, 2010

Xiao Qiao


by Xiao Qiao
translated by Cindy M. Carter

The Chinese word for cactus, 仙人掌, translates as "Palm of the Immortals."

The cactus grows not from immortal arms,
but vainly from the sands,
thirsting for a surgery:

Oh cut me, cut me open,
let me hear the water gush from me...

Comes a western trader,
peddling wigs as sleek as silver,
whose merchant-eyes pierce cacti
like they were strings of copper cash.

The cactus face goes green,
trembles that it might withstand
the winds that shift the sand.

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