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POETRY/THƠ

Lê Vĩnh Tài | no. 14:13 – they arrived smelling like burnt BBQ meat

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

Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm, the poet and translator, born 1971 in Phu Nhuan, Saigon, Vietnam. The pharmacist currently lives and works in Western Sydney, Australia.

By Lê Vĩnh Tài, translation by Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

they arrived

smelling

like burnt BBQ meat

.
darkness
like the past
mother’s returning footsteps
on a damp
grassy path
.
seems like now in every window
there’s a bright
red mouth
wide open
.
they came again
again smelling
like burnt BBQ meat
the smell of those
who
burned flesh
_____

chúng đến

có mùi

thịt nướng

.
bóng tối
như ngày xưa
bước chân Mẹ trở về nhà
trên con đường
cỏ ướt
.
hình như bên cửa sổ của mỗi căn nhà bây giờ
có một cái miệng
há to
và đỏ
.
chúng lại đến
vẫn có mùi
thịt nướng
mùi
của kẻ đi nướng
thịt

By Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm

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

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