author photo FSL (2)
Photo credit: S. Dundure


Where the bamboo clacked
in broad light, you

thought the image

out of sight. Metronome
ticked, wondering

about time. Fingers
slow, you closed

both eyes to train a cathedral

of silence without lies. Something
fluttered, you couldn’t

see why. Too bare, too alike.
Was it a stupa

of colors, down

to the thred? A bell rang
twice, you realized

it was there,

slanting by your side,

the voice of summer rain, the last
Manchurian sky.


Fiona Sze-Lorrain writes and translates in English, French, and Chinese. Her new poetry collection, The Ruined Elegance* (2016), is forthcoming from Princeton University Press (Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets). The author of two previous titles, My Funeral Gondola (2013) and Water the Moon (2010), as well as several translations of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poets, she is a zheng harpist and an editor at Vif Éditions. She lives in Paris, France.

Here latest collection, The Ruined Elegance, published by Princeton University Press can be found here.

Audio rights provided courtesy of Princeton University Press, From The Ruined Elegance: Poems by Fiona Sze-Lorrain. Copyright © 2015


To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.