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Mid-Autumn Moon

ISSUE:  Spring 1978

Like an old friend,     last year’s moon     floats up     east of the city. Haggard, depressed,     the same man I was last year, I lie by the broken window. But the moon comes looking for me; her lovely beams slip into the room. How did the moon know I was sick? —She must have seen     that the tower of songs         was empty . . .

So I stroke my pillow,     sigh three times and stand up, cane in hand, to follow the moon. The wind takes no pity on me— it sweeps me straight to the Jasper Palace. White dew fills my lungs and I chirp poems     like an insect in the autumn night. At first I am a romantic Li Po, but soon I change into a suffering Meng Chiao. How many years do I have left? How many more beautiful moons will I see? And the fish—they can’t sleep either; all night they breathe on each other     in the cold water.


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