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Night dixains.

                                        Dalat
You won't go into the forest because
It's closed it's much too large it's much too damp
Black nibbles at the edges dampness digs
Its holes one doesn't enter there Clemence
Wants to get close to the trees burst open
Under the weight of flying monkeys who
Are afraid of heights inhabited by
Blackflies that hover on tepid waters
Brightness approaches as the leaves recede
A glow reflected from the uniform
Depth and thickness of the leaves I don't want
The mirror's in the bedroom and in front
Of it we find her brushing her horse-like
Hair and she whinnies because her mother
Is a woman and her father absent
God is it you who'll be my punishment?
And if a child is going to bring night
To the mirror in the bedroom where she
Looks at herself those who know circumvent
Those who don't who will die of exhaustion
Slowly advancing under the vast trees
The green is black Clemence I do not want
To enter the forest on the mountain
The mirror in the bedroom too wide too
Wet my mothers a woman my father
Is alone beloved the punishment God
I do not want to enter the mirror
Of the forest that's haunted by the ones
Who know its depths and who know that a child
Won't admit that madness is the mirror
Of those who finally love each other
She whinnies in the thickness the brightness
Despite the trees' weight and eats the edges
Of the white stones the overwhelming damp
There is a woman on the mountain who
Laments a man who's absent and a child
Standing there who'll be brought by the mirror
I don't want Clemence to weep because she
No longer is the punishment the one
Beloved my God you'll be birth and night
Of the forest on the upright mountain
The damp hollowed declivities around
Them were white stones so that you could kneel there
Eat their edges on the mountain to the
Right trees that were planted despite the weight
Of the forest enter into its depth
The mirror in the bedroom has withdrawn
Before Clemence who traces the obstacle
Of the child to come with an ivory
Comb I do not want to cry in the night
For the beloved no longer Clemence
                                       Baria
The mother took to the road she was dressed
In the loose trousers and the loose black shirt
And the conical cap beneath the sky
Of a foreign country was carrying
Fear in her packages for the natives
Who were in hiding from bombs and soldiers
Or were threatening you'll no longer have
Hands no more husbands no children only
Suitcases to be lost during this time
Prisoners subjected to the torture
Of thirst were suspended in cages in
The midst of the swamp and the bulrushes
The worst of it was treason in the bush
Or in cafes in the country of death
Where there was no thought for life the door that
Kept being slammed shut in the woman's face
All the gossip on the terraces in
Cities letting the enemy pass through
No headquarters the worst was the absence
Of any mercy and the fear the loss
Their feet bled they were hunting the father
The soldiers searched for him with sabers drawn
The mother knelt and prayed then she went to
The peak of a mountain she was trying
Not to lose her equilibrium or
Her courage a peasant turned his head as
He left to get a glimpse of the woman
Who sat astride the ridge her legs dangling
She was walking barefoot delivering
To their doorsteps the worst of parcels war
                                       Saigon
The peasant in his rice-field mutters Kill!
Because he was obliged to submit to
Foreign customs sometimes it was wearing
Trousers sometimes it was having to sit
By the river doing nothing sometimes
It was holding a gun the banker's wife
Who no longer had hands but only had
Rings for her fingers was making butter
Standing under the tall trees we all ate
Sweet potatoes we were cooking metal
To sculpt soldiers to sculpt massacres we
Ran away we could not know what face would be
The face of betrayal and if the next
Day would be possible the aggressors
Carried pikes carried sabers cudgels and
Bayonets big wicker baskets for pigs
And would leave the heads under the staircase
The man had hidden himself was debris
That the rivers had abandoned his sex
In his hands we couldn't hear the gunfire
Translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker
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Article Details
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Author:Etienne, Marie
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2019
Words:845
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