FAMINE – 庞琼珍

Pang Qiongzhen

After finishing
rotten sweet potatoes
peanut shells
grain husks
grass roots

Still famished,
he follows
the grown-ups,
looking for anything to fill his belly.

Between rocks
he scrapes out
white clay,
it feels soft
on his tongue.

In his belly,
the clay becomes hard as rocks;
if you want to live
it has to be scraped
out of your guts.

60 years later
my uncle says on his sickbed,
that stuff was called Guanyin soil.
Like clay to play for children,
like plasticine.


11/15/18 first draft
1/4/19 final text

Translated by MW in January 2019



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