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The wide afternoons of Before were over

The moment the door was left open and the complex was briefly silent.

I know for certain one moment must always follow another, but

There was only After after that.

There are gifts in different degrees

I’m trying to picture one.

(Was it only one?)

I’m trying to picture—

Can I just say

It’s hard to call a boy beautiful and not offend him in some way

It’s hard to call a boy a boy and not offend him in some way

But offend is the last thing I would do—

What I’m trying to picture is


Three flights of stairs were worth this

Waiting was worth this.

It’s always seemed so brave to me

That people kiss with their eyes closed

Without a doubt the event is occurring

But I peeked twice to be sure.

(Does that mean I’m not brave?)

It was more than one gift after all

It was a collection of them.

Not unlike a museum curator, I am trying

Not only to picture

But to preserve

The collection of gifts

If it can be given

If it can be kept.