White stockings, waist high by Wang Xiaolong – translated by Mimi Chang

a master walks into a forest
with half a bucket of lime water
he walks around a tree
brushes it with the lime water
walks to another tree
making another round, brushes it again
with the lime water
to kill bugs
for winter protection
he finishes all the lime water
brushing the long legs of all the trees
into white color
the forest becomes a ballet floor
everybody wears white stockings, waist high

Wang Xiaolong (1954) is an avant garde poet and documentary film director from Shanghai. He began writing poetry in 1968 and taught a poetry class in 1981 at Shanghai Youth Cultural Center. A pioneer of the Spoken Language Poetry in China as well as a forerunner of the Third Generation Poetry (Post-Misty) of the 1980s in China.

Mimi Chang is a Chinese poet living in the USA. She has published widely in literary journals in China. She translates poems and literary essays and organizes the annual Hu Shi Poetry Award in China.