Throwing on the orange life preserver,
tying slipknots in the slim ties,
I mistook it for a child’s game.
The dark blue boat could take just five or six.
The biggest of us sat in front,
and we joked he would steady the bow.
It isn’t far, Dongchong to Sanmen Island.
From the beach, the ocean wasn’t so huge.
But the little boat unveiled
the vastness of the sea. The next morning
as wind-carried drizzle sought shelter in the ocean,
my friends and I took the boat back to Dongchong,
the driver went full speed to strip away our muddled drowsiness.
All at once, on the hard surface of the water, the boat flipped
like a bratty kid doing long jumps.
Petals of water scattered and with the rain
blurred my vision. For a few blinks,
I felt, several feet deep
in the leaden water, the ocean’s iron essence.
Translated by Eleanor Goodman and Wang Ao（顾爱玲、王敖译