Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

First Night

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

First Night

Article excerpt

for Rohan

My first night home, after

we'd kissed a long time

then drunk half a bottle

of wine, tasting summer

orchard heavy with the heat

they say you must pass through

to enter the gates of heaven,

removing your shoes and cotton

socks for the journey, un

buttoning your shirt, pearl

by glaucous pearl, we lay

down in the king-sized bed.

I listened to your breathing,

the sound full of teeth

whisper and throatcall,

as if fifteen days apart

had made you a stranger to me,

I leaned over and wanted

you inside me. I pressed

my lips to yours, tasting

amber apple tempered

with a tinge of darker hours,

and our bed touched the tip

of the Pearly Gates. Oh, we

could not stop there, we blew

clouds to the left, celestial

dust to the right, half

expecting God to show up

in his marriage hearse, we

stripped away the rest

of our earthly belongings

chinos, Levi's, leaf

and vine, we got down

to the silk underwear

of our souls, and before

the locked gates of heaven

we said our vows. No state

lines to stop us, no born-agains

to spit on us, nothing

could keep Guyana from kissing

California on the lips, Georgetown

putting his hands on San Bernardino's

hips, sea to shining sea, how we fell

asleep like that. …

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