Ouyang Jianghe was born in Luzhou, Sichuan Province in 1956 while his ancestral hometown was in Hebei, China. As a nationally known poet, and a critic on poetry, music and culture, his works have been published since 1979, including over 200 poems, many articles on poetry, and lots of reviews on contemporary fine art, music, film, and drama, which amount over 350,000 words. His books published in China include the poem collection Through the Glass of Words (1997, Reform Press), the collection of poems and criticism Who Leave, Who Stay (1997, Hunan Literature and Art Publishing House), the collection of reviews and essays Standing on the Side of Fiction (2000, SDX Joint Publishing House), and the poem collection Tears of Things (2008, The Writers Publishing House). He is recognized as one of the most important poets of China since 1980s. He is now living in Beijing.
Austin Woerner is a Chinese-English literary translator. His works include two volumes of poetry, Doubled Shadows: Selected Poetry of Ouyang Jianghe and Phoenix, and a novel, The Invisible Valley by Su Wei. From 2011 to 2014 he served as English translation editor for the innovative, bilingual Chinese literary journal Chutzpah!, an anthology of whose short fiction is forthcoming from University of Oklahoma Press. He holds a BA in East Asian Studies from Yale and an MFA in creative writing from the New School, and is currently a lecturer in creative writing at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. He is represented by Irene Skolnick.
A key glints in the Sunday morning light.
A returning traveler is locked out in the dark.
A knock on the door is always more faint than
the rasp of metal in the keyhole.
Only a dreamed address is reliable.
As I bike down a quiet street
all the headlights go out at once.
In the night sky above, a hand clenches a brake.
I hear a clink. A key has fallen to the ground.
I see a ring of keys, keys of years past
glinting in the light. I pick them up.
But where are the hands that hide behind them?
A row of closed days, ending in Saturday—
but I do not know which to unlock.
Now it is Sunday. All the doors on the street
stand open. I toss the keys away.
No need to knock. Just walk right in.
Such a crowded world, and no one at home.