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After Rapture

I am found kneeling
beneath the last
_____blasted tree. Winter

on my shoulders
and a sparrow’s red skull lodged
_____in my mouth.

I have cut my hair
to feed the fire. Remnants of a city
_____dusting my lips.

No nations left to die for
or hide in. Only this voice—
_____woven through the cracks

of a halved piano: that sound
a doe makes when the arrowhead
_____replaces the day

with an answer to the ribs’
quiet hollows. I reach
_____for the charred branch

and push. Blood dots the dust
beneath me. My wet face titled
_____skyward. I push until he starts

to crown, my name already dripping
from his lips. He writhes
_____through me, scraping

for that precious shard
of light, where the wolves
_____have already gathered—

their half-moon fangs
brightening the hour. But I push
_____anyway. I open. I wound. And you—

dear reader, you will call it
the beginning
_____of Adam. And I,

the fool who chose
to live, I will call it
_____forgiveness.


__________________________________________________
Born in 1988 in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong is the author of the chapbook BURNINGS (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2010), which was selected by the American Library Association’s “Over The Rainbow” list of recommended LGBT reading. He is a recipient of a Kundiman fellowship, a 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize, an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Connecticut Poetry Society’s Al Savard Award, as well as six Pushcart Prize nominations. Poems appear in The American Poetry Review, Verse Daily, RHINO, Southern Indiana Review, Guernica, South Dakota Review, and Passages North, amongst others. He keeps a blog at www.oceanvuong.tumblr.com

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Roy Pérez lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches Latin@ literature and performance studies at Willamette University. He is a founding member of the birdsong arts collective and small press in Brooklyn, New York, for which he serves as contributing poetry editor. Roy's work has appeared in Glitter Tongue, The Best of PANIC! poetry anthology (Fire King Press), and FENCE magazine. His poem "Things We Both Know (Not Our Real Names)" was adapted to film by director Finn Paul and has played at film festivals in Chicago, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. Roy is currently working on Queer Figments of the Latin@ Imaginary, a book about art, sex, and race. Born in Los Angeles, raised in Miami, and fashioned in Brooklyn, Roy has now lived in all four corners.

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