Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Before you existed my teeth ached for you. For your snow-powder skin and your bird-feather hair, for your shrieking and the whispery breath against my palm. I wanted your fingers wrapped around mine and your mouth pressed to my breast. Before you existed I wrapped the idea of you around my body, and every day I cinched it tighter until I could barely breathe. 

During the days I walked everywhere, flinching when I glanced your phantom in peripheral vision; I turned my head and you disappeared. At night I pressed my face against a damp pillowcase, but you would not appear, even in my dreams. I cried so many tears for you. I prayed so many prayers.

You were no magician’s trick, and you could not be conjured by my voice, nor by the throbbing cavity of my heart. You could not be conjured at all. Once I realized it, I walked through the world every day half-asleep, unconscious of my body, hearing nothing of its little twitches and sighs. 

It was then that you slipped up silently. The air loosened, unlocked its blackened pitch. The scent of honey, gulped into my lungs. Mornings, when the sun came up, I squinted against the light.

You came up behind me, darling, when I was looking the other way.

Those first days—the days when you began your journey up the river to my heart—I slept so hard. It was spring, and the whole world woke up while I, like Aurora pricked by a magic needle, dropped into another realm. 

I slept and slept, and there I met you, in the deep, dark and dreamless sleep. You curled your body into the shape of a question mark and fitted it against my own. Unconscious of you, I did not lend you my voice, but you didn't need it, anyway. Only my quiet, the tide of my breath.

You would not announce yourself. You grew without the benefits of my awareness, my voice urging your heart to keep beating. 

You were determined, and so you remained.           

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