In the Mountains Near at Hand

Steve Bradbury translating the Chinese of Ye Mimi

Excerpted from His Days Go by the Way Her Years, Anomalous Press Chapbook Contest Finalist, forthcoming

click here for the Translator’s Note

We identify the plants, in the mountains near at hand.
The cigar grass and the pencil-box tree, the airy songs of the birds
and sinking lake. The road being quadrangular,
we also sport our floppy hats, to ward off the hard
When the empty pen and paper squeeze their way between trees,
the sublime becomes a kind, green.
The names of plants and flowers begin to flicker
but as we climb are soon snuffed out.
“Sniff and see,” he says.
In a torn leaf, a single pupil
burns, burning our far-flung hunger.
In the mountains near at hand,
we identify the plants, and moreover eat as many as we
can. The mountain heights are quadrangular too.

Steve Bradbury's poems, translations, and essays have appeared in Jacket2, Sub-Tropics, Tinfish, and elsewhere. He received a PEN Translation Fund grant in 2011 for Hsia Yü’s Salsa (forthcoming Zephyr Press) and lives in Taipei.

Ye Mimi is a young Taiwanese poet and award-winning filmmaker. A 2009 graduate of the Chicago Art Institute Film Studio Program, she is the author of two volumes of poetry, most recently The More Car the More Far (Taipei: Garden City Publishers).