Worn lightly, my tongue is a passport riddled with RNA
The road
Author: Nhã Thuyên
Published on: 9/21/2015 5:05:09 PM

I part with him at a café on the corner of a crowded street, we kiss and hug goodbye, i (and maybe him too?) don’t know what more to do, “goodbye”, though how difficult to leave, though between us all the stories that were not stories we told each other and then forgot or the endings without an ending, although the period still appears and i should use it, (can i resist?), i clench his hand a bit more, say, don’t walk me out, don’t look back after ok, don’t look back after me ok, into my heart, i know, (i still want to kiss him more one more time?), night is now falling, this is how i’ve finished my part in him, who needed me like one needs an edge of gentle wind in the ear along the road, a storyteller, a narrator, or maybe just a point of view in his story, or worse, someone to mechanically type words, i’ve finished my part in him, who needed me not like one needs a soul, a stimulation of thought, who knows, who only needed me like a piece of machinery, i know, this is how i’ve finished my part in him, night is now falling, though i’m not tired, but i already decided to leave, and he should rest for a new journey, a journey without me, i know, this is truly obvious, not a happy ending, nor is it any more miserable, night is now falling, each step i take is each step further away from him, i’m on a set path through the city with legs stepping not in order, not in chaos, life here like this always so, not in order, not in chaos, i don’t want to arrange its order, nor do i want to mess it up further, the chaos of the soul is scorching me now, am i burning or am i melting, a sun in the night, i’m about to spurt lava on the street, i’m about to burn the leaves of trees, burn the sidewalk, burn the wheeled vendors, (no, i don’t spurt lava on icy faces, do i know them?), i try to survey my steps, steps not in chaos, not in order, there is nothing destroyed, there is nothing rebuilt, anyway night is now falling and no one sees the ripening sun, melting, i know, this is how i’ve finished my part in him, i’ve left him, though i’m not afraid of absurdity, neither can i return to the point from which i’ve just left, i’m still trying to look back, look back a bit more, (do i still want to kiss him once more?), see him still sitting there, in a light brown wooden chair, i only see the back of him thin like a hardcover book and its open pages, i can’t understand anything beneath the layer of those faded words, i watch the darkness licking his face (do i still want to put my hand up to touch that face?) and his hair swelling up, his hair is swelling up (do i still want to breathe his hair?), until i no longer see him, no longer know what he’s doing, no longer know how his face changes as the seconds pass, night is now falling, i concede to go forever on roads, as long as there is still road opening up or splitting off in front of me, i’ve left him, i know, i can’t return to the point from which i’ve just left, i’ve finished my part in him, and though i’ve formed a question, this is how he has some part in me (has he finished his part in me?), this is how i kept going to look for him then, since he left me, or i left him, or i separated from myself and on the endless road, as long as there is road, i call him panic stricken, i call him on the phone, or call myself, and the electromagnetic waves get jammed, or the broadcasting system has suddenly blocked them, the call returns to my own phone, as long as there is still road opening up or splitting off, i heard the rain falling an engine running a horn honking beside him, why should i go off always leaving on his road, why should i separate, why should i use a period, why should i force myself to the point of admitting i’ve finished my part in him, because night is now falling, he needs to rest now for a new journey, why should i go to the point of confessing, that the reverse is not true, he is still not finished with his part in me, so what, i am the storyteller, i owe him, i am sorry, i cannot, cannot leave him peacefully, i’m still pursuing him, i didn’t accept he was right, that i’ve finished my part in him, that he needed peace and quiet to rest to begin a new journey, i didn’t accept i was right, that i was only the storyteller, in a night that i never thought was so long and wide (i still want to hear him talk about the long and wide night one more time, a voice like waves rubbing pebbles that is still so deeply in me isn’t it?), until i go forever on a road, as long as it is a road, a road’s meaning is meaninglessness by itself, its existence is only to keep opening up and splitting off, i’m still on a journey to find him, not the least bit cautious in the dark of night, but this is the only motive in life i think i have now, a needless odd energy seizes me i should never stop looking for him, i can’t put a period so quickly, night is now falling, i don’t need to plan an order, i don’t need to break apart, i only need to listen closely to the chaos of my own heart, it is flowing out in streams of solid black, it is not even a little simple, i should keep looking for him, even when night has already fallen, on the road, as long as it is a road, a road’s meaning is meaninglessness by itself, its existence is only to keep opening up and splitting off, i’m still on a journey to find him, not the least bit cautious in the dark night, even if i will never see him again once more.

-- translated by Kaitlin Rees

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