you are the beginning and the ending


Nokyoung Xayasane

You are the beginning
and the ending.
It is like this:
with you I am
my worst self,
and I feel no shame.
You show me
the darkest part of you,
and I want to drown
in that darkness.

When I see you,
we exchange
very few words
because I know you.
I’ve known you
before memory
and before recollection.
You are
from another time,
a time when I was young
and sorrowful and sad.
You are a wellspring
of quietness and knowledge,
you wreck and destroy,
you hold and caress,
you rebuild and replenish.
You are the hard flat boulder
held up in the quiet stream
that I laid upon
one summer,
trying to find meaning in the sky.

You glide your thumb
along my lower lip,
you clench your hand
against my waist,
and I feel no pain.
The AC,
it has stopped working,
our bodies are drenched,
our hair is damp.
I clutch at it by the roots.
You are the dark purple bruises
along my thigh
my neck
my chin.
You are the dark damp place
where I go to hide.
You are the quiet calm after
rushing, rushing.

The thing is
I know you do not fear me.
And somehow
that is enough for me.
are enough for me.
You are interspersed
among all the men
I’ve been seeing lately.
You know about them.
I do not lie to you.
I do not ask you questions
with sorrowful answers.

When you leave,
I try to forget you.
And in that act,
I remember you
more vividly,
panoramic and bright.
In truth,
I do not wish
to erase your smell,
your sweat,
the imprint of your hands
from my hair
my face
or from my body.

You are the beginning.
Will you be the ending?
One can never know
these things.
One can only hope.
Hope, I believe,
is all we have.

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