one day in xiahuai town
— li nan
(trans. amy huichun liang and steven schroeder)
Pingshan County, Xiahuai Town, westward from Shijiazhuang
A hundred kilometers.
Winding dirt road
Has borne so many vehicles over the years.
Today, facing the distance:
Xiahuai Town thirsty wheat fields, yellow.
I see a farm woman stoop to pick up water
Her shabby blue cloth
Intensifies the weight and poverty of Xiahuai Town.
This day, I also approach an old man at sundown
His tranquil smile and gesturing to the horizon
Make me truly believe
Even in a time hard as iron, he will not open his mouth
To tell Xiahuai Town’s
At six in the afternoon, under an arched bridge, a placid lake surrounds
Xiahuai Town, black ink mountains
Fade one by one on the horizon.
Goodness! Every passing traveler is always passing
In this one day, I can bring back only scattered memories
Of Pingshan Xiahuai Town,
Sit between the lake and the low mountains
There is no one place we really know.