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--- P H A N   N H I E N   H A O

For me to say this might make a person laugh enrage another into plotting a coup d’etat true words spoken carry no weight like a blue name tag, pinned on a shirt a ten-year-old student has spent two years of arduous changes He often buys iced water during summer afternoons hoping to melt the sun into rectangular ice bergs.

Growing up I thought speech could heal open a wound, disinfect, then bandage it. I thought… No, in this silence sometimes I see the two hands of memory reaching out to clap violently without making a sound like the wind, like muffled hatred of souls buried together This silence exhausts me It doesn’t forgive, like ants Patiently carrying red corpuscles from my body.

I say this in a screaming voice But the train lunges forward sounding horns like thunders making a mockery of my efforts On its black side blur these white words: "Post-Colonial Train, Global Line" I quickly hop on. Aboard a rabble sit and stand How many are without tickets like me?

translated from the Vietnamese by Linh Dinh

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