Thirteen was a red-head boy
eyes the colour of the sky.

Clumsy chubby and extremely shy,
I took up tennis,
all was possible in my plight.
Jeremy in tennis camp.
Polite, kind, the popular boy at me, smiled.

I was that selfish kid
In the early hours dragged my mother out
her weekend barely
and there was the exorbitant fee,
the distances I could not see.

My mother in those days did double shifts
the post sorting centre
the other side of the harbour bridge, no walk
letters, the cheapest way to talk.
they gave her tea money, the extra hours
not much, enough for a biscuit sour.
Never did she spent it:
it was our tin of Arnott say,
Maccas on birthdays,
our new dress on Christmas day.

Thirteen was lonely,
I had Asterix and Obelix.
I had Jeremy.
At the pit of my stomach, you see
the butterflies.

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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