For the first time

For the first time,
   I face the edge of
      me & the world,
drawn like a line
   of Conté red
      on pale paper:
If I cross I’m dead.

Holding my arms over
   bowed head, all these
      years of self defense,
I didn’t know
   there was a line to see.

I stand alone
against my own two

      My future comes
together in
      a twilit night.
      My lost footsteps

All the spaces
   without my voice
   hear you sing.
In them,
   my breaths come
      slow & deep.
   Over my heart,
      yes, above my
   your handprints
   That’s how I know
you’ve seen your own
      red line

   down your
left hip,
my tongue
wants to slide,
   fitting my litheness
   to yours.

   In your hands,
my world shifts
   to a country house,
old orchards,
   and high grasses;
      a gate painted
red & white like
a Venetian mooring
and me, running
   the taste of rain
and flowers;
      the salted taste
            of you.
A sketch of
what I could
      have been.

© 26 Feb 2008, Heather Quinn, all rights reserved

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