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A Little Closer to the Edge

Ocean VuongOcean Vuong June 16, 2020
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Young enough to believe nothing

will change them, they step, hand-in-hand,


into the bomb crater. The night full

of black teeth. His faux Rolex, weeks


from shattering against her cheek, now dims

like a miniature moon behind her hair.


In this version the snake is headless — stilled

like a cord unraveled from the lovers’ ankles.


He lifts her white cotton skirt, revealing

another hour. His hand. His hands. The syllables


inside them. O father, O foreshadow, press

into her — as the field shreds itself


with cricket cries. Show me how ruin makes a home

out of hip bones. O mother,


O minutehand, teach me

how to hold a man the way thirst


holds water. Let every river envy

our mouths. Let every kiss hit the body


like a season. Where apples thunder

the earth with red hooves. & I am your son.

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