Chen Poyu


Impact point on the glass (his nasal bridge).

Talking becomes uneventful. Like the light passing right through him.

The accident scene is a prom falling apart.

Everyone freezes like a statue (a good-for-nothing statue market).

Chalk marks at every corner.

Like the pre-action poses he sketched with color pencils in his diary.

A sharp brake. The nib’s sharp scratch across the paper—

Could this be the mock-up of the traffic accident?

I can’t find him on the spot. It’s a prom that takes place at sea bottom.

Oh, Venus of a broken arm and missing foot.

Oh, Adonis who hunts in the sea.

I bent a straight road once. But whose nasal bridge is it.

Basic rule for self-defense: assault the vulnerable spot of bad people.

Yet it’s inevitable to change partners during a fight as you may do in a dance.

All has entered into legal proceedings.

Do not leave the accident scene.

Unless the ambulance comes looking for you.

(In the rear mirror, I see him nervously making a call to his hookup)

Impact point on the glass (his nasal bridge).

Talking becomes uneventful. Like the light passing right through him.

I envisage the recent trending mermaid show at the aquarium.

I envisage myself in nude. A fake caudal fin wrapping the lower half of my naked body.

Like a woman from the Qing dynasty confined by dreadful customs.

But she has in her hand a fishbone sword, a conch and a timer.

Manhunting, manhunting—

Bones, bones, two more sets of them—

(Question: Can I see the audience outside of the water tank)

A classic film gives the option of a blue pill or red pill.

White water above my head, but the water reflected by the glass tank is black.

Oxygen runs low. Only one tense is correct and deemed appropriate.

A strange red light flashes:

Earshot, password lock, jogging outfits.

A greedy gaze.

I point my harpoon at the man who is about to leave.

Born in 1993, Chen Poyu has won numerous literary prizes in Taiwan, including the Lin Rong San Poetry Award and China Times Literary Award. He is the author of The Bubbles Maker (essays), and two poetry collections, mini me, and recently, The Art of Rivalry. His Chinese translation of Robert Hass’ Summer Snow was published in 2022. He currently lives in Taipei. IG: @lukepoyudchen 

Nicholas Wong is a poet, translator and visual artist from Hong Kong. He is the author of Crevasse, winner of the Lambda Literary Awards in Gay Poetry, and Besiege Me, also a Lammy finalist in the same category. His poems and translations are forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Poetry Northwest, The Massachusetts Review, and The Griffith Review. IG: citiesofsameness.