Before he began to motion
with his hands, molting almost: flinging
the news from his limbs
like black feathers. Before something crawled
inside me, as if with life. Before he appeared
different to me, somehow—the way a book might
for having read it, though neither of us
equipped with sounds taut enough
to call this anything—my body rioting
like parts of a chandelier
as it hits the ground. Before he told me
that he’d told me what he’d never
told anyone—telling it with the exact aim
of having practiced at the mirror
when alone, when absolutely
alone, or before the difference between a pulse
and its rippling meant something
between us, between throatsore and gumsore,
between stopping a thing inside myself,
and a stopping of the thing itself. Before
his sentences began, and they began
constantly, meaning he kept reaching toward me,
meaning maybe my stillness was a kind
of instinct for it—like that of a horse
stepping into its harness, and you could
call it that, and he did.