Hoàng Hùng

Smell of Rain or Poem of M.

All the tears of the world surround our house tonight.
You lie against me and the rain is falling
Like nothing we have ever seen–you begin to tell me the sad stories
You have buried in your heart for years:

It rained for thousands of nights turning the darkness white.
Like the cow remembering dung when I went crazy remembering your smell,
Which you lost lying on an anonymous tile floors
leaving me only nights of rain and the smell of tears.

Do you still love me? How far does your love go?
How far resentment and anger?
Fifteen years are hardly enough to understand our hearts.

The constant rain has flooded the ground floor.
Upstairs we lie under the eaves listening to rain beating on the metal roof.
May death come while we lie here together listening to this rain.

Translated by Hoàng Hùng and Joseph Duemer


The Man Who Came Back

He came back from that far country
to find his wife in tears all night and his children bewildered all day

He came back from that far country
to see his friends turn pale at his apparition

He came back from that far country
And in the crowded street he has shivers at the back of his neck

After a year he will still choke in the midst of a party
After two years he still wakes in a sweat from nightmares
After three years a white lizard remains in his memory
After ten years he continues the habit of sitting alone in darkness

A day comes when he is tired of their staring
a night comes when a soft voice questions him

A tap on the shoulder
Startles him

Translated by Hoàng Hùng and Joseph Duemer