Early Morning Rain

by Nguyễn Quyén

for Father N-T-V

The morning you gave birth to me no rainbow rose over the porch
No flamingo call sounded above the thatched roof.
Each minute of pregnancy, each minute you dreamed of swallowing an ice cube…
I was born when night and day, heaven and earth remained unsplit—
The dragonfly tilted its wings, curved its tail,
Your fingers as thin as a pier’s posts.

I blended into the early morning’s sunlit rain,
Sounds of crying dissolved into the warm winds,
Raindrops suspended drops of sun from your smile,
The rain fell without thunder or lightning,
Each shy breath’s rhythm gave rise to sprouts of grass, gave rise to a mountain.
Each of my flowing teardrops formed a river’s branch.
In the realm of your sky
I sneaked out into the early morning world,
My hand hidden in a cluster of unripe bananas,
My ears in a patch of mushrooms,
My glimmering eyes in a fruit half red, half green
Stolen from the garden.

The season’s winds blew into your garden
The young, sunlit rain flickered behind the sky.

Translated by Ben Tran

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