October 30, 2015

Jianqing Zheng

NIGHT

After bathing in the pond,
I wrap myself in a towel
and beeline back.
Night ripples its gray
over the skyline’s last pink.
A flock of sparrows burst
from the threshing floor.
Cordilleras rise
and fall in silhouette
like a trail of graves,
a pale moon for a wreath.
Somewhere in the village,
dogs are barking and possibly
chasing jackals.
Back at the room,
my workmate is asleep,
bubbling snores.
I light a cigarette
over the oil lamp.
In the next room,
a bedstead creaks,
hunger after a day’s toil.
Spitting out tobacco dregs,
I shout “Get up! Let’s drink wine.”

from Rattle #7, Winter 1999