After Zeng Wanglun by Li Bai
When my father reaches Taohuatan at dawn's first blush,
he takes out his fountain pen, dipping it into the sky.
Not yet twenty-two, he is leaving for Singapore in two days,
fifty yuan to his name. He peers through the darkness,
sketching the outlines of moonlit mountaintops
and snow-powdered pavilions. Beyond, he sees
Jingxian, not yet awake, sloping gently like a mother's lips.
Jingxian: The pilgrimage he makes when he sleeps.
He remembers riding his scooter on gravel streets,
eating in the forest where redwoods and purple herons meet.
He starts drawing the mantou store where he met my mother,
the weeping willow where he, for the first time, kissed her.
Then, he listens to the slow dirge of submerged stones,
his mind quivering now that he is alone.
My father wants no ceremony: no song, no dance,
only the rushing of a river, pink with peach blossoms,
pink with my mother's prayers.
Through the gentle arpeggio of every river,
at the Singapore River he will hear her voice again:
I will wait for you under the willow, at the end.
Looking out of the plane, he sees my mother on the tarmac, still
sending her love past a thousand feet, where my father sits,
By Zhao XingyuQLRS Vol. 22 No. 2 Apr 2023