Adam saw emptiness when he first opened
his eyes, and begged God to create you from
the same mud, and named you Lilith, and made
you the first couple. But you were naughty
and wanted to be on top, like him. How dare you!
So you abandoned Eden for the East.
Then God created Eve from Adam’s rib, and made
them happily ever after. Later on, dear humble Eve
became greedy and wanted to take over the top, toplessly
plus commission. But you couldn’t care less, you'd
already multiplied with the snake: Carmen, Salome,
Barbie, Lolita… Dora Lolita is a little star that glows
on her own, glimmering her pale fire and humming her little tune,
occasionally appearing in the geometry of his thinking—
when Nadam sees her, he captures her and reproduces her.
* Inspired by a sculpture of Lilith. “Same mud” comes from the Chinese mythology of the snake-body Goddess Nüwa who shaped humans from clay, men and women. Nadam=Nabokov+Adam.
(Translated from the Chinese by the author and Neil Aitken)
(First published in Poetry International/SDSU, Issue 18/19)
Ming Di is a Chinese poet and translator living in the USA, author of six collections of poetry and four books of translation. She is editor of New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry 1990-2012 (Tupelo Press, 2013). Her own work has been translated into English (River Merchant’s Wife, Marick Press, 2012), German (Ein Leeres Haus, DJS Chapbook, 2013), Spanish (Luna fracturada, Valparaiso Ediciones, 2014), and French (Histoire de famille, forthcoming in France 2015).