Thursday, April 22, 2010


by Mark Halliday

Before you were you,
before your bicycle appeared under the street-lamp,
before you met me at the airport in a corduroy jacket,

before you agreed to hold my five ballpoint pens
while i ran to play touch football,
before your wet hair nearly touched the piano keys

and in advance of how your raincoat was tightly cinched
when you asked about nonviolent anti-war activity
and before you said "Truffaut,"

before your voice supernaturally soft sang
"I aweary wait upon the shore,"
before you suddenly stroked my thigh in the old Volvo,

when you had not yet said "Marcus Aureliius at 11:15"
and before your white shirt on the train,
before Pachelbel and "My Creole Belle"

and before your lips were so cool under that street-lamp
and before Buddy Holly in Vermont on the sofa
and Yeats in the library lounge,

prior to your denim cutoffs on the porch,
prior to my notes and your notes
and before your name became a pulsing star,

before all this
ah safer and smoother and smaller was my heart.

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