Bomb Crater Sky

Lam Thi My Da

 
They say that you, a road builder
Had such love for our country
You rushed out and waved your torch
To call the bombs down on yourself
And save the road for the troops
As my unit passed on that worn road
The bomb crater reminded us of your story
Your grave is radiant with bright-colored stones
Piled high with love for you, a young girl
As I looked in the bomb crater where you died
The rain water became a patch of sky
Our country is kind
Water from the sky washes pain away
Now you lie down deep in the earth
As the sky lay down in that earthen crater
At night your soul sheds light
Like the dazzling stars
Did your soft white skin
Become a bank of white clouds?
By day I pass under a sun-flooded sky
And it is your sky
And that anxious, wakeful disc
Is it the sun, or is it your heart
Lighting my way
As I walk down the long road?
The name of the road is your name
Your death is a young girl's patch of blue sky
My soul is lit by your life
And my friends, who never saw you
Each has a different image of your face
 
From Green Rice by Lam Thi My Da. Translated by Martha Collins and Thuy Dinh. Used with permission of Curbstone Press.

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