Tooth Marks by Trang The Hy, translated by Martha Collins & Nguyen Ba Chung

A piece of cake with her tooth marks on it lies sad and dry on a plate filled with
dead ants.
She has bitten him so he knows she has no venom.
Then why do her tooth marks on the forgotten cake inject into his spirit an
undissolvable drop of venom of intensely sweet pain?
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.