That early hour before a brute world
holds your palm open over its lit candle.
Before flinch or scar. Adulthood. Another
laundry line haloed between paper birches—
night-soaked sheets, yellowing socks, mom’s
dead dreams, everything windlessly idle as prayer
flags. And a cloud in the shape of a sister. This womb
emptied of promise. That brief waking moment love
has no synonym. The field demystified. Here
and there, horses not entirely unwild. Before
light muddies the waters of witness. Fingers
pressed tight to your eyelids. Artificial stars. This
nearly but not quite nothing. That there is no nothing,
even now. Just a thousand excuses to hurt before being hurt.