Let there be light so they can fly away.
Let there be immense light so they can find a way out.
But when I open the door, they still cluster in the temple,
a dark mass. Like humans
they can only breed one child at a time, but why so many?
So many bats, flocked together, I can hardly tell
who is kin, who a sworn enemy. When they fight
they are loud, so loud, louder than us. But now they are quiet,
they duck their heads in the same posture,
as if in prayer. It must be that a big leader
has just died. When they are quiet, it touches me.
I walk over to them, to join the company—
we are all mammals, why fear?
My yellow shirt is striking among the black,
I open my arms, revealing the totem on my chest
from my ancestors, more fearful than their terror faces.
None of them dare to come near me.
I stand alone, close to the door, close to light,
ready to make a clean cut, fly away from them.
(Translated by Ming Di and Tony Barnstone)