[ToC]

 

BEFORE (A POEM OF SUSPENSION)

Esther Lee

Before the day—with its blue frames and white noise; before baseboards gather their inevitable dust; before you begin to edit what someone calls your face of quiet despair; before he reaches for you, turning to sleep on his side; and before you overhear someone say, placenta their favorite organ; before a stranger assumes you as direction giver or masseuse, in other words, as someone who might know; before you notice the faithless surrounding themselves with thrift stores and lottery tickets and other sources of faith; before blueberries inside your luggage thaw out their inevitable juices; and before your mother describes your father shoving her head against the cash register; before she says, his lack of apology; before jars unseal their lids simultaneously; before mammals come up for air or for food; and before your friend, after nine days, reaches her destination; before he sleeps on his side and turns to reach for you; before light travels the length of and beyond the curtains; before reverb steeps your ears; and before the clicking inside your mouth resumes its inevitable cadence; before the phone rings, behind which the voice of someone who never calls; and before you draw more attention to mistakes than if they were left standing—

 

 

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Just thinking about artist and writer friends, the pressure