“Who were you before?” she asks
while bringing candlelit lips
to the rim
of a glass
filled with sweet liqueur.

“Before…?” I respond,
my half-drunken gaze
spilling across the room.

“Before all this,” she intones
and at her exhalation
the room dissolves.

There is only her voice.

“Before this face. This height. This name. This lust. This concern. This non-stop locomotive of thought bearing through your awareness day-by day. Before this family. Before this education. Before this sex. Before this love. Who were you before you?”

“I was – ”

“Wait, wait,” she pleas,
putting her fingertips
to my wrist.

“Before this touch.”
She licks her sugar lips.
“Before these words.”


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