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Nguyen Quang Thieu

The Examples
For my villages' war widows

Time flows into huge antique vase. Like locusts, the widows disappear one by one behind the grass. Red winds run back from the horizon and scratch at the ground. I stand on the village road, crying like a lost boy. I cannot turn over each grass blade around my country and search for them.

They have poles on their shoulders and move along ruts as if their backbones are deformed. They move in sleep through wild winds that rise up as the sun rolls its last circle into darkness. They move in sleep under prehistoric rains as dawn sits after the night fever. And I am a lunatic, standing to count them by one example.

My village widows-the examples-without shoes or sandals, they avoid roads that lead them to moonlight. Their breasts are tired and almost deaf, and could not hear love calling from the village men. And only the house mice eating rice in the casket can wake them. And they lie still, fearing their wooden coffin will be eaten hollow by termites.

And when I have nobody to count, my village widows come back from the grass. They walk moonlit lanes. Their hair spills over moonlight. Their breasts reach for the sexual fire just kindled. After footsteps, after doors opening, I hear the strange song. The song penetrates the skulls of lunatics who cannot sleep, and who stand looking up at the moon.

And the lunatics open the doors and go out. They go with the song-further and further, to the place where there are no examples.