Sunset by Zheng Xiaoqiong translated by Jonathan Stalling and Xian Liqiang

The small setting sun, an iron sheet of pain
It curls up into half-light, rolls as a breeze through lychee trees
Its blue flame burns inside the furnace
And then moves slowly across the roaring machine table
It awkwardly slips through my oily fingers
And casts its beading light onto golden needles
Behind it stands a frenzy of blown dust
Just as behind these iron products, stand
So many people: Zheng Xiaoqiong, Li Yan, Liu Xiao-ping ......
Dancing in the background like dust.

We could not see the dust in the setting sun
Our love of the mortal life has weakened
They disappear in the crowd
Those people come from everywhere,
Who will return to everywhere else
Remain you, her, and me......
Packed into the human flood
We are dust trembling in the light
Pushed we walk slowly into the darkness
Zheng Qiaoqing was born in 1980 in Sichuan, China. She went to Guangdong, Southern China, in 2001 as a factory worker and won the literary prize from People’s Literature magazine in 2007 for prose and the Dongwan Lotus prize for poetry. She has been widely published and has won numerous honors since then. Her work has been included in New Cathay – Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Tupelo Press, 2013).

Jonathan Stalling, associate professor of English Literature at the University of Oklahoma, is the author of Poetics of Emptiness (Fordham, 2010), Grotto Heaven (Chax, 2010), and Yíngēlìshī (Counterpath, 2011), and is the translator of Winter Sun: Poetry by Shi Zhi (University of Oklahoma, 2012). In addition, Dr. Stalling has published translations of Bei Dao, Mang Ke, and Li Yu. He is the co-founder and editor of Chinese Literature Today magazine (CLT).

Xian Liqiang, professor of Chinese Literature and Language at South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China, is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Oklahoma (2012 – 2013). His work currently focuses on the influence of American poetry on 20th century Chinese poetry.