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On the mountainside field after field of wheat seedlings shiver

the farther up the more they tremble

the mountain will soon shake itself apart.

Spring borrows the wind

to spread a fear of heights even farther.

It seems a transparent weapon is hidden in the heart of the sky

it seems danger wants to drop down and stab us.

There is a bundle of light walking about

the sun is preparing to make the green even greener.

The wheat seedlings ooze bile in fear

one by one the mountaintops connect, light up.

The wheat keeps spreading into the pitch-black towns

the bread steamed on the fire breaks open.

Those who have eaten their fill go outside

to turn up a roiling red clay tail.

The red tail’s human leader also strolls up to the mountaintop

the only thing on earth that seems timid is the wheat.

The green color’s fear is of the hoe.

It’s of the piercing bright blade of the sickle.

And it’s of us, the flour-eaters.

Wheat Seedlings

Eleanor Goodman, translation from
the Chinese written by Wang Xiaoni

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