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MING DI                                            

China Moon

US  

W unsized 2219omen from the village gather around the well at dawn

washing dishes, clothes, and bedding, and rush back
to cook before the sun rises. She, with a bucket of water, steps


away from the crowd, to wash a stack of plates— fine china

left by her mother. She washes. An extra plate 
each day towards the full moon. She washes. One less until

a new moon. She counts days. Waits. Will he come again? 
Each night she sees again that moment— 
“You like this, Baby?” His body above hers, she’s below,


quiet, as if opening her mouth would break the spell.
“Da Guo is getting married today,” they whisper by the water. 
Her china plates splash into the stream, breaking each other


plate after plate, like brittle dominoes. She doesn’t pick them up
but hurries home with the unwashed bedding—
tomorrow won’t be too late. She changes clothes, combs hair,

 

grabs a basket and runs. Time now becomes clear,

roadside corn is taller than her body. She wants to watch. The

        wedding.

See him kiss the bride. With her own eyes. With no jealousy. Then

 

head home, listen to the sound of china breaking into pieces.

Translated from the Chinese by Katie Farris with the author.

 
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