Lottery Ticket and Pre-Planned Heavens by Trang The Hy, translated by Martha Collins & Nguyen Ba Chung

People who don’t buy lottery tickets just crawl: they don’t jump. People who buy
tickets dare to jump.
That’s because a lottery ticket guarantees that those who jump do not die when
they fall down: they only suffer a little pain.
He is not afraid of pain
but he doesn’t care for those pre-planned heavens. He wants to build a cozy nest
on the ground floor of existence. Thus he doesn’t jump: he only crawls.
She is used to looking up, never looking down, so how can she see him among
the crawlers?
Born in 1924 in Ben Tre province, Vietnam, Trang The Hy participated in the war against the French and the Vietnam-American war. Well-known as “the sagacious writer of South Vietnam” and “the Dean of South Vietnam Literature,” he has published six collections of short stories and one book of poems.
Martha Collins is the author of Day Unto Day (Milkweed, 2014), White Papers (Pittsburgh, 2012) and Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), as well as four earlier collections of poems and three volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, most recently Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed, 2013, with the author). She is editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and an editor of the Oberlin College Press.
Nguyen Ba Chung is a writer, poet and translator. He is the co-translator of Thoi Xa Vang (A Time Far Past); Mountain River: Vietnamese Poetry from The Wars 1948-1993; Distant Road ‑ Selected Poems of Nguyen Duy; Six Vietnamese Poets; Zen Poems from Early Vietnam, and others. He’s currently a Research Associate at the William Joiner Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston.