THE DAYS DAD GOT IMPRISONED
For Father’s Day
How harrowing were the days Dad got imprisoned:
Mom could hardly sleep, got her eyes wet, rings wizened.
Gnawing the tiny rootstock Mom spared for me: how sad!
I was so hungry, Dad!
The cow feces I bore on my head across the river,
Wet, dripped from the basket, salted my lips.
The heartless stream was still flowing to make me shiver.
Oh Dad! such storms had risen to break life into chips.
After the flood, Mom dried the damp hay nearly kaput;
Humping her back, she carried on either slender shoulder
The burden of family responsibility, bareheaded, barefoot;
She staggered, listlessly calling for Dad, the householder…
Months had thus slipped away, and years gone by;
Mom still hid and rested her life in thatch, straw and slime.
I concealed my youth in such sadness as the immense sky,
Shouldering my days struggling to drain the sea of time.
NGUYỄN THỊ BÍCH NGỌC
Translation by THANH-THANH