when she dies slowly in her sleep

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

when she dies slowly in her sleep

you dream of being

the coroner


she doesn’t believe what you see

her sad eyes as she left

shrugging her shoulders


all the poems lost

their weight

in the poorly lit basement

where you would often find her

sitting there drinking 

a long iced black coffee


not that she doesn’t understand

she’s just pretending not to understand

when you lean over to suck her fingers

softly take a bite of her shoulders

she screams



not because she doesn’t understand

she has a new man


hence the poems of an era

is nothing but a game of happiness

in the dark


you want to commit murder

but you know better

you can but be

drunk again

for the last time 


khi nàng chết dần mòn trong giấc ngủ

bạn mơ làm

người khám nghiệm tử thi


nàng không tin những gì bạn nhìn thấy

mắt nàng buồn

và bỏ đi với hai bàn tay vung vẩy


những bài thơ đã mất hết

sức nặng của nó

trong ánh sáng mờ

của một tầng hầm nàng hay ngồi uống cà phê đen đá


không phải nàng không hiểu

nàng chỉ giả vờ không chịu hiểu

khi bạn cúi xuống liếm lên những ngón tay nàng

cắn nhẹ vào vai nàng

nàng la 

làng la xóm 


không phải nàng không hiểu

nàng có người đàn ông mới


nên những bài thơ một thời

chỉ còn đùa giỡn với những niềm vui 

trong bóng tối


bạn muốn giết

nhưng tất cả những gì bạn biết

là bạn chỉ có thể


thêm một lần nữa…




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.


      1. Hahaa, no problem my friend 👍😆🤗💕. It happens sometimes, even to me LOL.

        I am happy that you were able to read it, and your comment was the icing on the cake 🤩🤩

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know 😄😄. I always keep track of developments involving my interactions with others and comments and messages sent to me, about 100% of the time. But I have forgotten to respond to some messages/replies even though it’s very very rare in my case lol

        Liked by 1 person

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