A Little Closer to the Edge

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 headlessstilled

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 heras 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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