translated by Xi Nan


I can’t see my
Woke up in the morning
And saw my room
Most of the time
I stay inside
Occasionally go out
Wherever I go
My life
Or, me
Is my life


I am lying in bed
The room is full of light
There are also places where the light does not reach
Then it is a shadow there
Some continuous sounds
Pass into my ears
That is not one sound
That is a mixture of many sounds
I think of the afternoon
Not only the afternoon
I have spent so much time in nothingness


From the end of the corridor on the 10th floor
Can see the street below
There is a small river opposite to the street
I walk in the corridor every day
When reach the end of the corridor
Will take a look at
The small river below
Most of the time
I Just habitually
Look down
And don’t see anything
Sometimes it is raining
I see the rain falling on the river surface


Opposite to my apartment
There is another apartment (in another tall building)
Every day from my window
I look at the opposite apartment
I can’t see those people
Living in the opposite apartment
They can’t see me, either


Things may not be
So important as imagine
Like sadness
Like difficulty
Even “meaning”
These are indoctrinated things
If we change a position
It might be totally different
Thus nothing is
A must or an irreplaceable
The world is very big
Very wide
There are many possibilities
What we see is
Just one of them
And so
Nothing is a big deal
And so
To be alive—
This is the most important thing
This is all the
Possible possibilities
The thing is like this


To listen to a reading of these poems by Xi Nan and Fish Lu, watch the video below or click here.

About the Translator

Xi Nan (Nancy), contemporary poet, writer, and translator, was born in western Hunan, China. She used to be the lifestyle columnist of the (British) BBC UKChina website, and was nominated for the Zijin Star by People’s Literature (China) for her debut novel. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science, lived in the U.K. from 2004 to 2017, and has published eight books (in China) in different genres: poetry, novel, translation, and so forth. She is now traveling and writing in some places.


This is an excerpt from Xi Nan’s and Fish Lu’s poetry collection, With Light and Dust. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.