no one has the rights to absolution

A poem in Vietnamese by Lê Vĩnh Tài
Translator: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
Photography: Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

THREE POEMS...

1.
no one has the rights to absolution
you’re only forgiven by anyone 
it’s because you did 
what had to be done

2.
I’m drowning in the deluge of all my thoughts about the world
inside my bathtub

3.
I’m walking around
around me you should walk
too frightened to look past
look past what’s too frightful
those cracks on the wall
on the walls were all these cracks
what were you afraid of
you were afraid of what
at the end of it all
we’ll find
from the cracks
when the door opens
the door opens when
the gourd cracking wide open
they come out crawling
their blood colder by the day
pretending to be the people
---
September 2022
BA BÀI THƠ... 

1.
không ai có quyền tha thứ
nên nếu ai đó tha thứ cho bạn
chỉ vì bạn đã làm
điều bạn cần làm...

2.
tôi chết đuối ý nghĩ về thế giới của tôi
ở trong bồn tắm

3.
tôi đi vòng quanh
vòng tôi đi bạn
sợ phải nhìn qua
qua nhìn phải sợ
vết nứt trên tường
tường trên vết nứt
bạn sợ những gì
sợ gì những bạn
cuối cùng chúng ta
có thể tìm thấy
từ trong vết nứt
khi nào cửa mở
cửa mở khi nào
quả bầu bị vỡ
những kẻ chui ra
máu ngày càng lạnh
giả làm nhân dân

Lê Vĩnh Tài, the poet and translator born in 1966 in Buon Ma Thuot, Daklak, Vietnam. The retired doctor is still a resident of the Western Highlands and a businessman in Buon Ma Thuot.

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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