Bingxue Mei

The woman waiting before me
very nervously
spreads the large 100 yuan bills
clutched in her hand,
one after the other
feeding the mouth of the machine.

That mouth isn’t big,
but it has swallowed
each of those old red Mao heads.

She looks at me, nervous and helpless.
— “This how you do it?”
— “This how it works?”

Yes. This is it.

Let us all come together,
3 bows 9 kowtows before this cold majesty.
Pray after it has filled its belly,
it’ll work magic.
Heal our wounds, end our pain,
let hearts and spirits be calm again.

Translated by MW, December 2018


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