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

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Another Stretch of Time

There were no excited voices begging me to open presents on the stroke of midnight on Christmas Day. Instead, my children watched movies through to morning in the basement with my wife. It took little exertion to exhaust me, and then I became angry at them.

frayed edges
of a vaccine banner
cases on the rampage

Since the virus moved in with me four months ago, my daily routine changed drastically. I constantly felt as if I were wrapped in a lead blanket, and it became challenging for me to get out of bed. After getting up, it took me more than ninety minutes to get ready for the start of every workday from home. Throughout the day, I took longer and more frequent breaks to boost my energy. After lunch, I would take a walk to refresh my mind. But sometimes I gave up halfway through the walk because I was sapped of strength. It felt like moving along carrying a load of bricks. I used to be a marathon runner, but now I couldn't walk more than nine or ten blocks.

Today is the 100th day after my discharge from hospital. After zooming and emailing for hours, I can't wait to crawl into bed early and get some sleep. Sitting at my bedside with a penetrating gaze, my wife speaks in a soft and calm voice,"When you can't do it alone, maybe it's time to reconnect with your childhood beliefs."

steep steps to a shrine
against the cloudless sky
one step at a time