A by Chiew Ruoh Peng, translated from the Chinese by Yee Heng Yeh

A court historian should have frozen the frame
on each moment, then filed it away.
For the times, our mother, the dowager queen,
had her hands full with us young princes.
For the discussions on our grand nation's affairs
taking place between ministers and guests.
For housewarmings, birthdays, storytelling, singing,
dancing, crosstalk routines, sports meets, graduations,
squares of scenery seen on travels.
For when one is doing nothing, sometimes:
just a face caught lost in thought.

And if dad is missing in these photos—
all the better to make our imaginations work harder
to bring him back to life.

Published in Nashville Review. Please follow their Twitter.
Original poem in Chinese:摄影师

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Chiew Ruoh Peng

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