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Little Puppet

by Tong Wei
Translated from Chinese by
Stephen Haven & Li Yongping
Issue 24 Online Exclusive

Whose penetrating fingers
Manipulate her little heart?
She speaks of an orphaned
Homunculus perched
On the tip of a flower.

Trees stretching into the sky
Race past, crowned with antlers.
The blue mirror breaks.

Hands like caterpillars from trees
Dangling down to the grass.
She pulls at the string of light,
That little black heart craving for the moon,
Rattling in the silver box.

I’m sewing—
In her broken sobs
Sewing a mask of time
Onto her smiling cheekbones.
I’m transplanting the wound
Into the mirror of morning.

Little puppet, little puppet,
Your mouth no longer cries for surprise,
Eyelashes of light
Peel off
Your gloomy shoulders,
Your crossed, overlapped hands
Sliding into my seamless skull
Sewn into
An inhuman thing.

Author
Tong Wei was born in Beijing in 1956. She has published two volumes of poetry: When the Horse Turns Its Head (1988) and Revenges on Dream Addicts (2012).
Translator
Stephen Haven a writer and translator. His collection of poetry, The Las Sacred Place in North America, was selected as winner of the 2010 New American Press Poetry Prize. He has published other collections of poetry, a memoir, and collaborative translations of contemporary Chinese poetry. He is Professor of English at Ashland University.
Translator
Li Yongping was born on April 7, 1947, in Kuching, located in Sarawak on the island of Borneo in Malaysia. He received his early education in Malaysia. In 1966 he published the short story “Son of Borneo,” which won the Borneo Literature Bureau Prize. The author of several novels, he is also a prolific translator. He has translated more than twenty-five pieces of Western works, ranging from classical to popular literature.