Have I told you, Love, about the dream
I used to have before I really knew you?
Or at least, then, it seemed a dream—
I'd be in bed but then sit up and my heart
would sink to realize own consciousness.

There were other hands, before yours,
not nearly so light; they did not know
how to handle such a broken thing.
I wish those fingers would have bled
when they touched those pieces.

I'd try to say a word to oppose it,
but their hold on me was absolute.
I was paralyzed until, my terror past
some limit, I'd try again: this time
I'd cry out loud, and it would stop.

Trembling, I'd come to myself,
shuddering awake, with fear for you,
for both of us, raging more terribly
and tearing more thoroughly through
me than those hands ever did.

I'd pull the blankets over my head and
whisper short prayers, though I could
only ever bare to utter a few of those
little admissions of guilt, and they'd
soon fade to disillusioned silence.

It was like the desolate time before you:
I couldn't turn to you for reassurance yet,
lest I frighten you, couldn't embrace you
for fear I'd wake you to your own distress,
so, as I had then, I lay helpless, mute.

I wondered then if I would ever tell you
of those hours in which my life,
not touching you but holding you,
not making a sound but crying for you,
awoke into the half it is with you.