The COVID Cruise

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

A poem in Vietnamese by Phan Nhiên Hạo
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm


The COVID Cruise

Grey sky, through the clouds, escaped rays of light

the glaring sun indifference upon a ship aground

the silent port.

The ship docked, but the passengers weren’t allowed home.

They waited for a decision from the mainland,

countless meetings by those who can’t swim.

They waited too for their name to be called next

by an illiterate, the Grim Reaper.

On a ship railing, a seagull watched

two older people pacing in their cabin

like lightly battered caged birds.

The pair married in February.

Now March, on their honeymoon,

after separate divorces ten years past.

A person riding a bike stopped, asked.

“Is there anything I can do for you two?”

The woman asked for a leaf;

The man wanted sildenafil.

Instead, they smiled and waved.

Beneath…

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