What Happens Before Anything

Despair

What Happens Before Anything

So many things happen before
anything happens; water climbs

a hundred degrees before it boils,
like my mother cried every

night for fifteen years, before
she left my father, like Suzanne

kept drinking and taking drugs, until
her heart gave out. When

I learned about Suzanne’s heart,
I was walking across campus,

my arms filled with books.
Just then I felt the weight she

must have carried, piled on
like snowflakes, light at first.

— Dara Barnat, author of Headwind Migration

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