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POETRY/THƠ

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm | THIRTEEN (72)

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

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

 

THIRTEEN

 

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.

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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