National Poetry Month 2016: April 11th, Ocean Vuong

A Little Closer to the Edge

By Ocean Vuong

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.

Source: Poetry (April 2016).

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