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from the March 2011 issue

From the Deep Earth

The day you came, the world knew how to breathe,
earth worms suddenly knew how to sing,
and the earth's surface trembled with life.

My mother had kept my embryo inside for days and months
where I wriggled, the world too small.
I howl inside of my own hoarse voice.

Wind blows me into your hands, so I feel the pain pierce my fingers and toes.

Your gaze opens the sky.
The sun rises and forgets to set.
You place me on your lips and on your chest.

Our hands join to make a universe for the moon, the sun, the mountains
and the vast singing sea.

Into your heart love gives birth to me,
and your voice breathes
streams of joyful thoughts
into my blood.

You will be soil and I will be soil,
dissolved into each other, quietly one day,
conceiving earth worms who know how to sing
the eternal song of emerald grass.

Translation of "Ngoi Nha Trai Dat." First published in Nhung Ngoi Sao Hinh Quang Ganh. Copyright Nguyen Phan Que Mai. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Nguyen Phan Que Mai and Bruce Weigl. All rights reserved.

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