translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern
An aging woman is pushing
a baby stroller
through a park of sun and dust.
Some dolls sit upright in the stroller.
Children free themselves from their parents’ hands
and run closer from across the park.
The woman walks gently
and the dolls are silent,
but strangely the children can hear
high noon crying.
They stumble and follow the stroller,
looking back and forth from the dolls
to the woman who’s pushing them.
The parents are watching the parade
from a distance;
they call their children’s names
but their voices are lost
between the sun and dust.
The woman walks
calmly, her pace is steady.
No one knows
who she is
or where she’s heading.
From Empty Chairs (Graywolf Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Liu Xia. Used with the permission of Graywolf Press.