Poetry From the May 2014 issue: Taboos: New Dutch and Flemish Writing
I'm holding a big round
that smells bitter.
A small knife
can cut through what seems
to be a thick skin—
I begin to shiver
in quiet pain.
A life without pain
is an unpicked
fruit: it rots.
I want to be a grapefruit cut
by a knife or bitten by teeth.
I’d rather have pain
and die in pain peacefully
than watch my body rot
with maggots squirming inside.
This whole winter
I’ve been doing one thing repeatedly—
peeling grapefruits one after another
absorbing the nutrients of my own death.
Liu XiaLiu Xia
Liu Xia (1961- ), Chinese poet, artist, and photographer, was born and grew up in Beijing, and worked as a civil servant for the Beijing tax bureau. She started writing poetry in 1982 and met Liu Xiaobo at a literary gathering. She married Xiaobo when he was imprisoned in 1996. Liu Xia has been under house arrest since her husband was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, while Liu Xiaobo himself is serving the eleven-year sentence in a prison in the northeast China.
Translated from ChineseChinese by Ming DiMing Di and by Jennifer SternJennifer Stern
Ming Di is a poet, translator, and editor of New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Tupelo Press, co-published by Poetry Foundation, 2013). She received a Henry Luce Foundation fellowship in 2013.
Jennifer Stern is an American poet and translator.
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