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Published: Sun Jul 1 2012
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Frustration Translation

after Han Shan

In the night’s firm or
_                       _ remote or close black, public stars tick light or
_                                                                                   _ tick against the moonlight or
_                                                                                               _ enumerate the night.

The orphan lamp. No, the lonely light.
_                       _ That’s not right: the isolated lantern of the not yet sunken moon.
_                                                                                   _ Or of the hasn’t deepened moon. Yet to become
_                                                                         _ grave moon. Not yet but already too much moon
_                                               _ stains the rocks. Rocky cliffs, I mean, crag points.
_                                                                         _ Well, something dots the rocks.

The robust light of the fat moon, no, the cat satisfied moon
_           _ does not obliterate its lustrous jade-like stone. Or, the moon’s light
_                                   _ does not grind down or does not pester the transparencies.
_                                                           _ Okay, moonlight cannot polish stone.

Hanging on the youthful or black
_                                   _ day or sky
_           _ or, just hanging overhead, is my heart. A heart. Or mind. Yes, the center, or a piece
_                                                                                   _ of my mind is suspended in the sky.

Sophie Grimes has lived and traveled in China as an Oberlin Shansi Fellow, and again as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Boston University, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 491 Magazine, CRATE, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Second runner-up for the 2011 New Letters Prize for Poetry, she lives in Chicago, where she is completing her first book of poems. (updated 2/2012)

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