:: Article

The heart on the tray does not have a heartbeat & other poems

By Ma Yu, translated by Liu Qing.

No darker can it get, otherwise I would not be able to hear anything

One mouth speaks, the other mouth listens
One mouth is saying the words that the other one is unable to hear
The other mouth is hearing the words that the first one is unable to say
One mouth lights a cigarette, the smoke obscures the other mouth
The other mouth lights up a smile, the laughter softens the first mouth
One mouth passes the cigarette to the other one, the other mouth smokes, obscuring the first mouth
The other mouth passes the smile to the first one, the first mouth smiles, softening the smoke
The similarity between the two mouths is that there are no apparent differences between the two
The difference between the two mouths is that there are no apparent similarities between the two
And now, almost as if a prior arrangement had been made, the two mouths lean in closer
A stiff kiss is formed between the teeth and crunches
One mouth hangs its tongue upside down inside the other mouth like a slug
The other mouth lets out a sigh: no darker can it get, otherwise I would not be able to hear anything.

The heart on the tray does not have a heartbeat

The heart on the tray does not have a heartbeat.
The wife adorns her eyes with tears,
in the shadow that has been sterilised by the doctor.
The shadow of the doctor has been hollowed out by the shadow of the Chinese parasol tree,
the wind is strung between the branches of the tree,
like long white streamers in a funeral.
Being shut outside the window the entire afternoon.
The wife’s watch screeches,
the hour hand leaps out of the dial.
The husband lies on the hospital bed,
with a cut-open chest.
The children are jumping on the wife’s hands,
there are no grids there,
only soaked with sweat.
In the shadow that has been sterilised by the doctor,
a third flower blooms from a pot of cyclamen, deathly pale.
The wind throughout the entire afternoon is being shut outside the window,
strung on the Chinese parasol tree,
like long white streamers in a funeral.
The wife uses her hand to measure the corridor,
her nails penetrate into her skin and flesh.
The children rolls around on the ground, laughing.
The Chinese parasol tree smiles, spitting out a new leaf.

mayu

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Male, currently residing in Shanghai, born in May 1986, date of death unknown. He has a wide range of interests, such as mopping the floor, following stray cats, and standing underneath ginkgo trees waiting for ginkgo nuts to fall.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Liu Qing, born in China and left at the age of 8, and has since lived in Auckland, Melbourne, and Sydney. With a background in architecture, Qing is currently studying filmmaking, and is a great admirer of Marguerite Duras.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, December 13th, 2016.