Antes del Alba - Poem

by Nile Faure-Bryan. Originally featured in the Romance issue, available here.



There is a moment that cracks the canvas, like lightning, and illuminates the outline of everything, then it leaves and the eyes weep blind in darkness. It came faster than thought, and before words could give shape or form to the Dawn of this dream, it departed, and I breathe after an eternity of holding my breath for an instant.


As I kissed the soft line of your jaw, I saw the corner of your lip curl upwards, a page to be turned, frozen. The window is open and the summer breeze is mid sneeze, sea salt warm on her tongue as she gently wipes away the sweat. A Prussian sky limned in goldust peers in through cashmere curtains, curious. In the palm of my hand your heart beats once and time stands at attention, doffs his cap and awaits my ascension.

Your hair flows, liquid fire in the lamplight, as a landslide of desire leaps and catches crimson, smoke from the touch lingers in your curls as my fingers unfurl in linen sheets. I feel broken legs, awful sex, hotel rooms, operations, hospice beds, and the cool steel of the headboard is ice on my skin. The clink of cubes rings in my ears, for Appleton rocks my fears to sleep most nights but not tonight, no tonight there is Merlot and strangely the glass is half full on the low black counter. I can count your every eyelash and each line of poetry that lies between, of dogs, of cats, of men and fear, of cameras and blackness, of structures and sadness and extended family and Hyacinths and Spanglish, of old flames and love to come, another piece of my soul gone when you leave for good, reason councils patience but passion blazes, waiting doesn't make sense and neither does the way the nape of your neck bends the light around it in angles that angels couldn't countenance. If this ends will we ever love again?


It is all essential and immaterial. The stories build us as the future kills us, and neither is the gift of which I speak, for as the freeze thaws and your lips turn toward the heavens, and the embers from the fall spark and glow in the morning, I beg Chronos for more, please, for this, surely, is satori, but he places his hat back on his head, the ash begins to settle, and the vision burns reticent as I close my eyes one last time.

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The print and digital literary review by Black, Asian, and racialised community writers.