[...] Fan's opening poem, 'Transmigration' is universal in its concept. Perhaps we all privately hope for transmigration, for reincarnation. Fan implies this through repetition:
The day we saw a kingfisher on the Roman bridge of Salamanca / was the day we saw two otters on the bank of Rio Tormes in Salamanca, also noting the events were
five days before Christ was supposed to have risen.
In particular, Fan meditates on the kingfisher sighting throughout the poem, deliberating over the bird's colour:
What does it mean, that living, spectral colour between blue / and violet. This colour, so commonly associated with spirituality, perhaps confirms the transmigration taking place.
Transitioning into the final couplet, Fan showcases his narrative skill:
except the thought / of you alive, or better still, us alive simultaneously, even once. This declaration explains Fan's hope for transmigration. To round off the poem (and leave us smiling!) Fan says:
But just in case it's true, let's be the two otters. The poem echoes back to the otters from the first couplet, as if starting over. An intelligent poem, where every word's a gem.