You Might Have Been My Brother

Tang Danhong
October 22, 2015
Author: 
Tang Danhong

 

You might have been my brother, especially at dawn
Milky vapors rise into the sky,
That white adolescence wafting into my lungs.

But I woo that white air,
Let it grow wings of a peacock,
Naïve and overwhelmed with joy.

You might have been my apple, especially today,
But the mashed pulp soured,
Like a tuft of hair bleached in time.

Only the Adam’s apple allowed me to breathe,
To marry my feathers to your rooted tree,
But you saw through all this.

You might have been my ghost, especially tonight,
A shy corner of my ballet,
A painting, a flower, asking an exact identity.

How could I know she was there all the time,
A magnolia blooming in schizophrenia,
The vulva of an angel roving the sky
Crushing anyone who dared to stare.

Forgive the shout of the peacock’s tail.
Mercy to my lungs blowing white gales,
Always the anxious prisoner.


Translated from the Chinese by Stephen Haven and Li Yongyi


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