by Andre Nguyễn Văn Châu
To my friend Nguễn Văn Vĩnh
There was a time when the phone rang
My soul responded but my hand delayed
the moment you started greeting
As the fear mounted
I did not know what horizon we would search
What depth we would go to find the beginning of a question
I did not know how much soul searching would be involved
whether I had the strength that particular day to follow your drift.
So many questions we asked
So few answers we found
Yet each call you made filled my day with fear and savage joy.
Now you are gone and my line went dead
Who will talk to me about God, and Hell, and Hell on earth
Who will talk to me about sin and redemption?
I reread the books we read together
turning the yellowed pages.
I walked alone among the live oaks
Thinking about so much exploration
So much pain we shared.
All I can do is to look at the people you loved
Who feel the same way the emptiness around us.
All I can do is to listen to their excited litanies of the joys in time past
But there will be an end to all this
When the stars shine around us
When the suns and the moons revolve under our feet
Among the fleecy flocks of white clouds.
And then we will renew our discussions
Then there will be fewer questions
and many more answers
There will be more light than darkness
There will be more shine than rain.
I will stand and comtemplate a beautiful soul chiseled by our Maker
And those who loved you and missed you
Will sing in unison
To the music of angels.