Page 43 - October 2020
P. 43

Taste  of Sweet Plum Power

                                                           The sun shone on the roof. Lily  helped
                                                           feed the chicken – Ahmu [mother] had
                                                           gone to work on the farm. Lily and her
                                                           younger  sister  were  picking  hair  lice
                                                           for  each  other  on  the  porch.  She
                         Miao-Yi Tu                        knocked  Ahmu’s  bamboo  hair  comb
                                                           onto the terrazzo floor, scaring away a
                                                           few fleeing lice. Little sister chuckled,
                                                           which made Lily happy too.
                            Translated by
                        Dr. Shuhwa Shirley Wu              Like  a  noisy  sparrow,  her  younger
                                                           sister  then  began  speaking  close  to
                           Paintings by author
                                                           her ears: The old yellow cow of WU Tu
                                                           Shui was sold and gone. The dad of LI
                                                           Chuen-que  Rose  had  earned  a  lot  of
                                                           money  working  in  the  city.  TIEN
                                                           Shuhua had a new pair of shoes, a gift
                                                           from her older sister.
                                                           And SU Shoulan Orchid . . . .
                                                           “Ahjie  (Sister),”  it  seemed  as  if  her
                                                           little  sister  had  suddenly  thought  of
                                                           something  and  asked  thoughtfully,
                                                           “Are we very poor?”
                                                           Lily  stared  at  her  younger  sister,
                                                           surprised. To be honest, she had never
                                                           thought  of  this  question;  she  did  not
                                                           know  how  to  answer.  Lily  was
                                                           embarrassed, and squished a lice with
                                                           her  fingernail.  The  lice  splattered
                                                           against her nail and the terrazzo floor.

                                                           It made a feeble sound, a cry of death.
                                                           The  lice  was  crushed  to  paste;  blood
                                                           stains her nail red. The sun shone onto
                                                           the water vat. Soon the sisters forgot
                                                           their  conversation,  and  strolled  hand
                                                           in  hand  to  play  at  the  temple  yard
                                                           (note  1).  The  girls  had  fun  playing  at
                                                           the yard everyday.
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