Face of Age

Taking a photo of my right face with a camera

My half-century old hand is not steady

It shakes slightly

Blurring and discoloring my face

Delete, shoot it again !

Like a proud young man refusing to be defeated

Delete, shoot it again !

Shooting blindly without hesitation

Shooting away

My youth

Dirt climbs on

My shackled ankles

Rust spreads around

The trophies awarded to me

I’ve lost the ferocious temper

Reported by the crime sheet news

And my name and smile have

Faded from literary periodicals

Burying the past glory in memory

My hand stops shaking

Lighting a cigarette

Then taking a photo of my left face

And changing the setting from color

to black-and-white

Pek-êng Koa is an acclaimed Taiwanese poet. He taught himself writing in Taiwanese during his 17-year incarceration, due to two charges of robbery. He has won more than thirty literature awards throughout his writing career.


C. J. Anderson-Wu is a writer and translator from Taiwan, her writing focuses on human conditions, human rights, political injustice and state violence.