My husband pulled the bobby pins from my hair one by one and placed them on a table in the dark. He ran the brush through with more care than I had taken even as a little girl, even with my china dolls.
Proximity becomes porosity. We were limestone in rain. The monuments to ourselves etched with begets and allegiances weathered to shadow before we could rub the shape into permanence. It was tomorrow and then the next century.
It will be ten years ago we met. Then two griefs and three oceans ago.
Now I lay in wonder in arms I don’t deserve and he traces beauty down into my skin. Into follicle, he hushes a whisper of first light. Even my pores are seen now. Seen and seeing, as if freed from blindfold and handed a mirror in the same staggering moment. “Oh, so this is what I have become.”
He asks questions no one ever should of a girl whose voice was just hatched. Then he marvels at the tears when all we’ve talked of is sweet things. He can’t know how ill prepared I am for this act of dedication.
How lazy these hands.
How hesitant this contained force.
Of course, he does know, and he fixes himself to the spot and draws closer. We quiet ourselves for a moment words cannot reach and listen to the song on shuffle.
“I am going to come up with an adjective,” he says. Then he tucks it away and we let Regina Spektor fill the room and also us with what we can’t yet tap in ourselves. Halfway between hard and soft, her lyric is a silver glint in the dark. An unsheathing ssss of steel pulling free. She holds the blade against our wrists and turns it this way, that, to feel where it curves and where the slanted script at the hilt edge sips in just enough of the offered light to wet channels between lines
and flings away the rest to flash against a corner of the room
the corner we only just noticed
had been wearing a cloak of shadow
over an old table, a handful of hairpins
a corner we never realized reached so far back
that were almost never there