Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài

Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


mixing rice and salt to reform a sweet block of chocolate

like a dictator reformed in the form of a king


as liberation was in love reformed

as the consumption of barley hunger was reformed


as carpet bombing reformed the summer

as people were reformed by agent orange


as the angels were reformed in re-education camps

left as mortals


as white chalk was reformed by darkness

ensuing three generations of mediocre academics

the associates ruled(the world)


as the atmosphere was reformed by the destruction of the jungle

followed by the crocodile tears

and competing despair


as plagiarism reformed honesty

in silence accepted the awards

followed by how life’s so unfair

the jealousy and hatred


as the earth was reformed by the garden of…

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