Duplex for Love on the Moon
Arcadia, California, USA
Arcadia High School
“Beautiful, beautiful, magnificent desolation.”
—Buzz Aldrin, 1969.
You said the moon was just a round egg
when we were seven, so bitter that home died
when our mothers were seven. Home dried up like this.
One palm and one plum. The skin wasn’t always
beaten like a grandmother’s palm. Often, I’d try
to kiss you. And this is how your lips would float:
straight into meteors, kissing white rock, most of your affection
already given to a goddess we learned about in Earth 101.
The goddess we learned about in Earth 101 was sightless from infancy.
She learned the cartilage of words through a handful of water.
We learned handfuls of water through the cartilage of words.
The idea of long creeks soon came to fascinate you. Mosquitos too. Malaria.
Do you still want mosquitos? Malaria? Something flowing and fluttering and alive.
Are we still half in love? I found something in the moon junkyard today.
I found a loose rocket in the moon junkyard today. Half-scrapped, yes,
but with all the engines still attached. I believe it could take us somewhere beautiful.
I believe the idea of somewhere beautiful scares me. After drifting down to Earth,
what if we find that all the rivers are still absent? I hope
the rivers have returned with their fat, hopeful salmon—and then you
can spear fish atop sun-hot goldbanks, in the way of ancient, masculine man.
And I can raise maize atop sun-hot goldbanks, in the way of ancient, feminine girl.
So teach me how to sail this rocket. I think a living home could be just what we need.
Teach me about gravity and dumb cane and pheasants. I think plums could be just what we need.
I’ll cook all our meals while you laugh at the clouds, which are scudding and trapped by the sky.
I’ll cook all our meals and only let the sky know I feel trapped. For the two of us, I’ll sizzle up
sixteen mosquito eggs. Yours will be scrambled or over-easy. Mine, I’ll make round like the moon.
Right off the bat, “Duplex for Love on the Moon” tugs the reader into an initially picturesque yet claustrophobic world, contrasted with the hopeful, confessional recounts of once vibrant love. As the speaker examines a historical cycle of beauty and destruction, zigzagging between the loose seams of time, we as readers turn inward to question our own anatomies and bodies as fluid vehicles of opportunity, as fragmentary homes with “good bones”–or, perhaps, as conduits of imminent demise.
Chloe Wong (she/her) is a high school student from Arcadia, California. Her work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, the Alliance for Young Writers, the New York Times, Hollins University, and more. She is an alumna of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR