By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm
“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 disheveled 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 nights 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 9th, 2021