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Before the boy & his early
morning wails—I’m too big too big—
as if sleep’s dark magic
has turned him giant-sized.

Before the baby & his staccato
sobs, little red body
& arching like
a rubber band being plucked.

Before the sun & its attendant
duties, before the strident
high & low
of the mockingbird’s song.

Before the neighbor’s
shoe-clatters above, before
traffic, after love—

your breath rumbles
hot in my ear, the bass note
our life is strung upon.

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