A Bullet Fired into the Night

Like a falling leaf in a dream
Or an arm in a dream, dangling
A night flight, with eyes wide open
A June night, an astonished look
No one sees the vanished smile
The soldier's dark face above the barrel
No one fears the barrel now—
An eel sniffing the mud


In a garden, banana leaves still catch dew
On tall bamboo, a nest of storks sleeps soundly
Only an ancient bat startles


In a closed house, a mother turns up her lamp
Not knowing she will be lonelier now
And a girl will sorrow in secret


No one knows he used to be a man
All summer long, crows will convene
In a row of bright green trees


Translation of "Vi'n đạn bắn vào đ'm đen." Copyright Ngo Tu Lap. Translation copyright 2007 by Martha Collins and Ngo Tu Lap. All rights reserved.


Read the author's "From behind a Closed Window"