I still have not found the words to explain the tender after the break, or a sweet wash of light eating up the darkness until none remains — there is only this: A falling short, a sentence started that grows swollen with regret; how can I still not explain it? A love that comes after a love is made not of less, but of more. When you are bleeding, doing everything you can to hold your heart back, you wonder if you will have to talk yourself into it, or rather, live alone, growing sad and bitter. But he comes to you, out of his own world, and you bid yourself to rise on broken bones — you want to rise — his lips, to kiss. And you think, This! so simply, so wildly. Half-crazy with it. And you recognize the years before as small and silly, and you think, maybe when he touches you the wounds close over because he is soft and sure, and you want that. You’ve always wanted that. But no. You squint at the mirror in the darkness and see your eyes, know there’s something more; this splinter in your sternum that flowers sprout from — not made by any man — but only that girl, eighteen, and ready for it — whatever it, it may be — looking for it — running towards it — not at all afraid of it. She is only a shadow now, but sometimes, her strength is your own and you almost can’t fathom it. How she — how you — how I — can still believe so fiercely.