Lý Lan


Country: Vietnam
Language(s): Vietnamese
Woman Writers

Each of us has her own bedroom and study
but Susan and I share a bathroom.
Once she opened the door and found me
standing naked before the mirror.
I saw her many times putting on makeup
and please do not reveal this dying her hair
and massaging the wrinkles in her face.
We also share the kitchen and sometimes
at midnight I come to drink water and find her
sitting at the table with a cup of tea.

She doesn’t know when the man she embraced
twenty years became a strange shape
in her house on her bed and with her body.
She doesn’t know why the man she loved
wanted to change everything and no longer
knew her or had never known her.
She wrote a book about women that won a prize
and found another man after her divorce
she has two sons one studying in America
one wandering through Europe.

She speaks from the heart, her Asian figure
animated, though she speaks slowly
pronouncing each word and laughs
in clanging peals. In the morning a man came
and sat outside her room. When I opened
the door for the morning paper I nodded to him.
Winter came suddenly. They went together
to the park to exercise. After a snow storm
the grass was buried. Trees tried to ward off
the snow that fell constantly day and night.
She packed her things and headed south—
The young man? Never saw him again.

Translated by Lý Lan and Joseph Duemer