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How to Tell a Love Story

There is a story that I must tell, but...

There is a story that I must tell, but
The feeling in my chest is too tight, and innocence
Crawls through the tangles of fear, leaving,
Dry and translucent, only its old skin behind like
A garter snake's annual discard in the ground juniper. If only

I could say just the first word with breath
As sweet as a babe's and with no history---but, Christ,
If there is no history there is no story.
And no Time, no word.
For then there is nothing for a word to be about, a word

Being frozen Time only, and I have dived deep
Where light faded from gold to dark blue, and darker below,
And my chest was filled with a story like innocence,
But I rose, rose up, and plunged into light-blaze brutal as blackness,
And the sky whirled like fireworks. Perhaps I could then have begun it.

If only the first word would come and untwist my tongue!
Then the story might grow like Truth, or a tree, and your face
Would lean at me. If only the story could begin when Time truly began,
White surf and a storm of sunlight, you running ahead and a smile
Back-flung---but then, how go on? For what would it mean?

Perhaps I can't say the first word till I know what it all means.
Perhaps I can't know till finally the doctor comes in and leans.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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