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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

By Moonlight I Write into the Darkness

I remember that her face took on a softness in the glow of the moonlight through our bedroom window. From the bedside table, she picked up a pen and a Post-it note, and wrote down her last one-liner:

midnight moon shedding light on the scars of our past

This one was stuck in a rainbow totem of Post-it notes above our bed, and, like its creator, never failed to surprise me. Of her one-liners, the most memorable was written on a "real dark night of the soul, three o'clock in the morning," as F. Scott Fitzgerald emphasized in The Crack-Up

a mass of piled-up shadows not knowing the sound of snow

The incident took place about three years ago. After a week of mental fencing with me, she slammed the door as she rushed out into the falling snow. She wandered through that night like a stray cat for several hours before she returned by the back door. Looking out the window into the barren landscape of our daily lives, she wrote down her "not knowing" monostich on the kitchen table.

Today marks the second year of her absence. Winter moonlight slips in through the bedroom window, reaching the empty side of the bed. I touch it and feel a chill. I sit up in bed and turn my head to the wall, looking at her Post-it notes.

Tower of Babel where the lines end her absence becomes

Frogpond, 40:2, Spring/Summer 2012