Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lost in Translation: A Haibun

O Canada
remembering her monotone
of "what do you want?"

The day after the Civic Holiday, 2003, I was in the Ajax Go Station to buy a ticket to Toronto. I found quite a few people lining up. I got in line and waited for my turn, as all Canadians do.

"Next in line."

"Tan-ride ticket to Toronto."


"Tan-ride tic-ticket to Toronto."

"What did you say?" She raised her voice.

"Tan-lide tic-ticket to To-toronto, please."

"I don't know what you were saying." She answered like a stern faced mandarin.

Her black co-worker, from whom I’d bought tickets several times, avoided eye contact with me.

"What do you want?"

I took out the notebook from my backpack, and wrote down “I want a ten-ride ticket to Toronto” on a blank page. I showed it to her and gave her my Visa card.

one-way platform
an unknown flower bending
to the wind

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online, 7:4, January 2012