Guan Hanquig

Jade Plectrum

The maiden rests the zither upon
her knees. I sorrow and fear,
preoccupied with farewells. Coaxed
by her suave touch, music pellucid
like the wind wafts through checkered windows
toward a brilliant moon.
Beyond the sculpted balustrade—
night air, crystalline. Her delicate
fingering rouses my spirit. Listen —
how at midnight people stop, grow quiet.

— translated from the Chinese by Paul Watsky and Alex To