The River-Merchant's Wife: An Answer
I have revisited my parents’ house in Chokan,
where we played before we were married.
You would still recognize it, the same
long-stemmed vines intertwining the front gate,
budding with flowers. So bashful then!
I tried to make you laugh, striding with stilts
and plucking blue plums to juggle
eight feet in the air. I watched
as your lips struggled with your eyes.
And I have drifted by the look-out rock,
where we pledged a thousand times
that we would grow together old, never look back.
Weathered now, where your sandals have filed
a melancholy pattern on its face.
I have tried to speak to you
in your dreams; but yours are always
the same: A big storm shakes
through the woods of Pa Ling,
tearing branches and leaves,
turning the whole world black.
I call you, but the wind drowns out
my voice. And when you wake up,
shivering, I am invisible, your eyes
look past me at the moon.
On the walkway, outside,
the mosses have taken the steps now.
And so I flow with the wind,
whirling with each western gust,
lifting the hair from your face as you
search the horizon toward Hsiang Tan.
And I flow with the river,
swirling with the current, until I reach you,
press against the soft skin of your feet,
as you wait for me, ankle-deep
in the waters past Cho-fu-Sa.