The Number of My Old Neighbors

Yutang Lin

Lived here for over twenty years
Cemetery Sunset View close by
Recently I strolled into it regularly

Gardeners who bury bones all became acquaintances
The other day during conversation the thought came
Do you happen to know how many are buried here

The head worker had piled earth here for forty years
The number of coffins he buried, he couldn't count
But willing to inquire for the answer to this asking

Today as I entered the park he happened to be there
On one sheet of paper the number of old neighbors written
Up to the first day of this month of this year
The total is sixty thousand five hundred and ninety-one

This number will increase as days go by
My life will be lengthened as days go by
Both the days of my life and this number
Eventually will reach the time of its ending

Written in Chinese and translated on November 5, 2007
El Cerrito, California

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