Bomb Crater Sky
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.