Buji River Serenade | 布吉河小夜曲

By and | 1 October 2020

Translated by Michelle Yeh

Sunset, grey rain and railroad tracks blockaded by the river
power lines gather concentrated daylight, clouds grow dim
till they are swallowed by boundless silence
as if they had sunk into a counterfeit continent

Someone meditates while jogging on the other side
maintaining the standard for an outsider’s sense of shame
afterwards, an even longer negotiation
like a golden retriever that has gone missing lifting his hind leg
under the night sky

A few rainbow Mobikes1drive out of the abandoned lumber
processing plant
drawing near from a distance, carrying on their backs a docile
economy on the wing
After the rain the torrent in the river gains speed
leaving behind a shared rhythm and chemistry in vain

A fisherman takes out a searchlight from his vest and aims resolutely
Under the arch bridge, a startled white heron draws in an
instant a parabolic arc of urgency in the sky
His pregnant wife leans on the railing and gazes down

at the feast in the fish basket; barefooted children
holding toxic, sick fish in their hands vie to take pictures
On the triangular island, lovers steal kisses in the dark
The hurried tangling of limbs looks like a graceless Tango

The night curtain is filthy and alarming
Raindrops wash the calcium-deficient city and its clustered buildings
A green-coated train touches the track exposed by earth
its rumbling ploughs open a tune of hidden rests

  1. The Buji River, a tributary of the Shenzhen River, runs through Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, one of the most
    prosperous cities in China. Mobike is the station-less shared bicycle system in China.
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