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Where were you, before

you arrived? I spoke to you,

feeling you were there, wondering

when I would finally meet you.


I thought I knew you.


We spoke many times,

through cycles of bloody

heartbreak, through the steam

of the shower, through the cracks

on the bedroom ceiling shape-shifting

in the sleepless streetlamp light.

Where were you?


You did not arrive, I suppose,

until you were ready. The You

of my heart then met the You in

my arms—your dark wispy hair,

your tiny soft perfect toes, your

mercury eyes squinting at the light,

your lips chewing on thoughts I

wasn’t privy to. You were a marvel,

perfect and unknowable.


You still are.


Since then your body has

stretched, strengthened and

elongated, cracking and

shifting, casting off versions

that didn’t fit. I watch your

eyes now, wide and brown and

warm, sparkling with joy to see

things so fresh and new. As this

new You emerges, I understand

I don’t know this You, either. For

now, at least, you are here with me

and finally present.


Where are you going? I could not

follow before and I cannot follow

now, but I feel, at last, that we are

together—that you take part of me

with you.

Heather Shaff

Heather is a book designer based in Boston who, when she’s not writing or taking care of the fam, can be found racing her bike, enjoying nature, or just daydreaming.

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