In time

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

A poem in Vietnamese by Thanh Tâm Tuyền

Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


When tomorrow the museum is closed

(To then open once more on another day

What for)

Throwing the last cigarette butt into the river

As our insides are spread out on a rock

A boat would glide by

The afternoon will not be green purple or red

Tired smokestacks


Who complained that it was yet the bamboo season

The coming season of bamboo will be less light less sweet

The forest bamboo gardened in the darkness of June

There will the cycling trips through the fields

Rooftops fast asleep under the blossoming white canopy of sugarcane

The will be visits of a family member or two

A cousin an auntie maybe

The sky might darken then

Like eyes

Like this abandoned alleyway


Discerning those familiar lyrics

The name of a woman denoting…

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