by Hiền Nga

To em K, for days apart – I was kept to be taught many things, including loving K.


Em ơi
___I haven’t been able to sleep
_______________the last four nights!

Missing you
___Sinh Tu Street
_________blackened my nose
_____________________the smell of coal
_______________________________the smell of dust.

Missing the house
__________________you alone

Em ạ,
Love is not calm ever

It overrides waves,
_______overrides rain,
______________rages storms…

___is not about
________giving each other
________a bunch of flowers every day

It is about
___those long nights

hair unkempt
________like big rows of trees

it struggles
_______on windy nights.

___is not
___dreaming on each other’s shoulder
___sad dreams under the worn moon

but you must live
__________must undress
__________________rain and shine

must sweat
_____through the liver.

Love is not about
____________for a thousand years
______________________cheek by cheek

but suddenly  –
_____________a shared heart

must cut it

a half for one
_______ one
_______ holds a half …

___is not
___those black cars
___________on the train of life

on some trips
________are removed
_________________or added

Itself is

with a thousand cars
_______some days – bright
____________ some days – lightless

Million of horsepower
____________the crazy train
____________________wild train

it crashes randomly
_________breaking legs
_______________day and night

it howls to death

it screeches
________on an earth
_________________before human

before society
_____before morality

Love is not
__whatever love
____________is ok

it is strange
_______like in a starry sky
___________million million of light

Only I
____losing my voice

could call
____the – star – you (why – are – you)

And there is you
_________going ‘til losing your

then stopped
_____holding me alone
__________in sadness

the – star – me (why – am – I)
__________________pouring fire
_____________________burning the sky…

___is not
________is ok!

but it’s like
___poetry lines


Em ơi
__you’re crying again
____________em à?

In the empty house
_____________the dog lies howling…

I punched the sky
__________a few punches

now I
______a room

four walls
____they cling onto the body of

to teach me many things

and love
_– that is our story…

Carefully read
________this poem nhé

Try to count
_____many words
__________many rhymes

are like many nights
_____________you watched the sky of stars

you saw
_____a star

the – star – me (why – am – I)
__________________moving through the sky

its tail was in flames
__________– what an
_____________angry star

I allow
__you to cry much
_______ cry more

Em ơi
_your love
_____is eternally ageless

for ten of centuries
____________why (the star)
___________________am I (me’s)
_________________________still burning…