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  Mai Van Phan  Trans by Do Xuan Oanh
Rain inside earth 

Fell the first rain drops. You remind that we once initiated from the drop of water. Crystal clear, you fell on me pure. For me to realize that nature and things around were all made of water. Overall was you waited for me to come near. Calendar leaf on the wall was starting itself a new day. Floor, picture frame, furnitures always clean. Fragrant tea just poured. Bowls and chopsticks had been dried. Knife and scissors suddenly became sharp. Books and copy-books neat to liking. And the door bolt open itself when I stepped out.


 When wearing the anti-sunlight coat you looked like cocoon moving in street. Vehicles spinned together with human silk fibers. Piling up models of Jean trousers, coarse cloth, fibers mixed with silk…Beginning from you, plaited from you the loosely large tunic. The moving cocoon rode moped, paging through cell phone : I had the meeting finished. You remember to wear hat and drink much water. Past ten minutes, you went to buy rice probably having just crossed one-way road, at the turn. Or buy milk for the kid, most quickly you only came near five-way crossroad.

You went through the wall under scorching sunlight. Through houses similar to loosely large tunics. 


Sour fish soup added a few onion petioles. You said why did I eat too slow. Heard a whiff of denuded onion petioles in early summer rain. Sound of wriggling fish startled deserted night. And the scent of coriander staying loath at the wall foot…Sour soup bowl in the meal tray was like deep well its bottom can’t be seen. Alone you kept mum until the  onion petioles were done to a turn. We were pests and ants self-confident to overcome untold traps. Once survived though having wrongly taken toxic drug. Human markets being torpid of dream fits…

The hot soup bowl open narrow room door. Kids were back and the whole family together ate.


 The streak of my lips was woodpecker on secular tree. The tiny beak made forest trees change their leaves, rotten wood trunk restored to life. Green parasols covered, murmured, craned upright. Eyes closed I listened inside the tree trunk and knew that sun had risen, magnetic waves originated seism, and star shot absent-mindedly. Four seasons weather made instinct of woodpecker race prosper. Turning up high. Then stooping on the tree trunk to pray wholeheartedly :

Thanks rain from the source, lightning, passing cloud…

Thanks early dew, land, night…


 You meditate in late afternoon. Bird songs glued to one another. Your forehead open endless fields of yellow flowers. Foot widened immense for water to rustle. Back straight - mountain hollow - light – drilling deep. Ten thousand measures were one, where was one going. Looming in space a large vase. Someone was coming back amid the drop of transparent dew. Sound of thunder extremely deep. Fragile petal craned up freely. Empty cup silently flooded…

All quiet – at standstill - clinical death – to agglomerate in you.           


Your mouth slightly open a quiet garden area. Bees flew back and made a hive of my eyes. You looked up for the drop of fragrant gold honey become viscous to slowly run down the cup in my hand and the suit I wore but reluctant to iron and the pair of shoes I forgot to shine. Garden area calm in autumn. But on your shoulders summer always poured roaring. Deep blue sky blurred out low hanging signboards. I couldn’t stop stream of your sweat spurt in june sunlight. But sweat shedding softened stone block, softened parching track, even the trees.


We were splendid under night wrapping. Mingled and adhered to wood veins and grains, plaited baskets, light met at filament of the bulb…We started, consecrated each other. Became candle, clean water. Became fresh flower, fragrant scent to worship ancestors. River flowed to save forest in fire. Sharp blade cut into sweet fruit. Stone slab loose bits themselves flew with blowing wind. We reincarnated into one another. Heard milk stagnate in each leaf of grass, wild animals eyes illuminated darkness, bitter drops ran back to the bile, and ashes buried in ploughing beds. We spread bodies and became other people, making seed to depart warehouse yard, soot in kitchen smoking-shelf, depart baskets, jars and vases…to roll down the earth.

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