This afternoon, Andrew Griffin and I sat at Mr Sushi and mistranslated a poem that’s painted on the wall there. I have no idea who wrote it, but I’m sure it’s a famous old poem. The uncertainty of its authorship gave me even more joy than usual in the fine art of stealing from the dead.
Winter Plum Blossoms
A mountain wind touches the plum branches
and stirs the blossoms into a storm.
They fall cold as snow to melt on my cheeks.
And I know you, too, walk alone today.
We parted with words like cold wind in the red dust,
and now we’re silent, pride aching in our bones.
These blossoms—does their fragrance waft 10,000
miles to startle you pacing your distant shore?