rough churn

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At Some Point They’ll Want to Know What It Was Like
Tracy K. Smith
There was something about how it felt. Not just the during —
That rough churn of bulk and breath, limb and tooth, the mass of us,
The quickness we made and rode — but mostly the before.

The waiting, knowing what would become. Pang. Pleasure then pain.
Then the underwater ride of after. Thrown-off like a coat over a bridge.
Somehow you’d just give away what you’d die without. You just gave.

The best was having nothing. No hope. No name in the throat.
And finding the breath in you, the body, to ask.

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