My teacher taught me
the Chinese phonetic spelling
for heart is "xin", not "sin",
even if they both sound the same.
That was how I learned a heart
can deceive, had better
be pure and untouched,
marked only by a cross on a treasure map,
quietly waiting to be found.
not speaking a word of English.
Every sound is a straight line,
so we scattered him at sea
to be one with the waves,
undulating like pin yin:
the first, an ebb and flow rolling out gentle,
the second tone swelling to meet
the third, descending and ascending,
the fourth is a final taut to bring him back to shore.
There is no word for goodbye.
There is watch your step, walk slowly.
Departures are unknown,
handle separations with care.
There is turn your head, there I will be,
and there will come a day in another time.
Long phrases to make the last
last because bye is too short
and sometimes, forever.
The closest to bye is bài.
Bài means to pray and I do it twice
to see you again.
By Joey ChinQLRS Vol. 13 No. 4 Oct 2014