Hard Objects


1. Blades


A blade sticks in a pane of glass. One blade.

Bars the door.

In its shadow another owl



A blade’s voice is a woman

leaping out of water


The sky has deep wounds

Blades drop through the holes


Hanging gardens. Leaves of grass pared sunlight

Those are blades,

coming behind my footsteps


Blade over the lips. Chops

daily conversation.

A shaft of light pierces my breathing

blood pours from the first dynasty


Two blades are eyes

penned in bars of light


2. Bones


Bones sprout in antiquity. Decorate antiquity.

Many moistures


are injected by fresh hands. Space

is uttered by bones

as is walking.


Bones walked through thousands of years

and passed it: where other bones

were crying


Tossed-out bones penetrate

each night.

A global family as resolute

as constellations, braced


immovably between holidays and funerals.

Some face archeology, face the radiant crumble

of culture in center exhibit.


Some escape into the flesh

piece together a human shape

and then, devour the remaining bones


3. Walls


By the wall: ’s nothing there.

Isolated by air. Those who hammer turn to flowers


Pollen smeared on the wall was carried

off in the mouths of autumn insects.

The wall flees

crushing lovebirds, pirates, and penseurs


The wall’s love song is encirclement.

At night, the wall slaughters everything

that once cast a shadow


or dissecting them


Human organs sleep in corners.

Bodies projecting onto the wall, splice

into one section


(I stand behind myself

and become a wall)


Translated from the Chinese by Canaan Morse.

Yang Xiaobin is a fellow at Taiwan's Academia Sinica. He is a postmodern theorist and poet whose work has influenced Chinese-language poets on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

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