Hair Across a Lifetime

A poem written early in life
is left unfinished,
As I have forgotten on which side
your hair is parted.
We seek each other along faded tracks
of days past.
Ere the moon was full I did not learn
how you part your hair.

Rather to live instinctively
like leaves,
Sad or happy, turned up or down,
they remain together.
To keep myself from biting my lip
and drawing blood,
I call your name frantically
in my dreams.

Can you count how many times
the cotton tree blossomed?
That’s how long your hair has grown out,
trailing longer,
Transforming to a stream that draws me
out to the sea,
Where the waves across life wash over,
dampening your eyes.

Where you may be, moon drifting
to some shore,
Whatever way you’ve taken, which way
your shadow falls,
I tend downward toward a sadness
spreading out branches.
A poem continued in later life…

Translate by James Banerian
Original Title Mái Tóc Ngang Đời