This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020.
Excerpt from Chapter 9: Three Rivers, 1910
On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important holidays and second only to the Chinese New Year, the three families gathered in Three Rivers to celebrate. Old Wang and Tiger came from Cloud Gate after finishing farm work. Master Han rented a showboat so everyone could be on the water, under the brightest full moon of the year, and enjoy the good food, wine, scenery, and each other’s company.
The cook and his helpers worked all day to prepare the feast: moon cakes, roasted duck, pumpkin soup, steamed marbled pork belly with taro, and the must-have delicacy of the occasion, fresh river hairy crab steamed with thinly sliced ginger, garlic, and scallion. Old Wang brought wine made from osmanthus flowers. Everything was packed into baskets and brought on board.
The wind was calm. The water was smooth like glass. The full moon hung low in the sky, white as silver, its shadows of Chang’e and the Jade Rabbit dark as spilled ink, as if reachable if they kept rowing the boat just a little further. The osmanthus trees were in full bloom throughout the city and their pleasant fragrance permeated the air. Other showboats and tour boats crowded the river and laughter and lively conversations floated around them.
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