BEFORE

I want the time before.

I want lips, saying nothing and then everything as they cover my body with droplets

and light every inch of my skin on fire.

Before they said

I can’t

and

I won’t

and

let’s stay feet and miles and months apart.

I want four eyes holding an infinite gaze into a finite space inside my expanding heart,

before they were forced to look away.

I want faces before they were covered in masks, when my face was buried in all of us,

for once, our masks discarded.

I want the high

before a virus and death and fear managed to sober even the strongest intoxication of us running through my veins.

I want my unwashed hands grabbing fistfuls of hair and sweaty skin and the fullness of life while housed between this city’s most famous haunted walls

before I had to wash it all off,

twenty seconds at a time.

I want the life before this after-life, where we all seem to be living as ghosts.

Because none of us are really here

as we were before.

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