Translated from the Vietnamese original “Mây bay rồi” in Trần Tiến Dũng, Mây Bay Là Bay Rồi (Saigon, 2010), e-book version on Tienve.org
Clouds flew away
on a roofless sky.
Yesterday the clouds flew away.
It was a thing I knew for sure
a thing I knew how heavy my longing for it
was like: a man who fell flat on his face by himself
like the dead fallen flat on their own faces.
Talking to an old person like
you was what I didn’t want to.
I wanted to know where it had gone
the face of the one I love
where it had returned to
my face of freedom.
In empty space a hand remained that waved
forever without knowing what to expect
so talking to the clouds was the best
way to keep remembering.
How did I know in defiance you’d walk away
while the tree fruits were simmering with
cracks like the boundaries that enclosed someone.
Why did I keep saying the one thing everybody
knew: The clouds flew away!