forty days and forty nights

“Who taught thee how to make me love thee more,

The more I hear and see just cause of hate?”

Within my constraints and what remains of my self-respect I am silent. How fickle is my love. I am dishevelled and alone. My mind is a maze of such thoughts, it has always been. 

It was a corner table I think, you weren’t alone. You were laughing, from a glance above my book I saw you. The child in kindergarten perhaps, rolling a tiny motor car across the edge of the table. As for her, she was holding onto your wrist, left hand, trying to make a point. The simple matching gold bands, they were lovely. 

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be that young. I don’t remember ever living my thirties. I don’t remember brushing my hair, except for that time I’m on the train wearing my top inside out, the humiliation still fresh. Yet there you were, immaculate. I am, in contrast, an insult. 

The pathetic sadness of me ending up as a cliché, even the tears I’m shedding are not worthy. 

Forty days, forty days Jesus did fast in the desert. Could I be more arrogant in comparing myself to Him. But here I am. I will fast in the silence of you. 

March 2021

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the blogger, poet, and translator, was born in 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

There's magic in translating a body of work from one language to another.

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