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from the December 2007 issue: Good-bye to All That: Partings

Hai Phong

Yellow lamps, prostitutes' eyes
Lines of sad provincial poems


On a farewell afternoon, yellow leaves are falling
Ocean winds have no ports or borders
Ocean clouds go their own way


Like dates, the harbors have no names
In the Lap River the tide rises
Fishing boats go and come
Someone waits at the Binh ferry for someone
A smile is blurred by cement-plant smoke


The people of Hai Phong are like sea-wind and sun
Off they go, with the dawn
Their footprints cover the earth


Long streets and salty waves—
On lonely nights I look toward Hai Phong


Translation of "Hải Phœng." Copyright Ngo Tu Lap. Translation copyright 2007 by Martha Collins and Ngo Tu Lap. All rights reserved.

December 2007
Good-bye to All That: Partings
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