Before

By: Tilleen Meitzler

with no sign of illness, no ambush, us, who
would’ve snuffed internal arson at ignition
and no act of self-immolation, had our lips
touch. We didn’t feel the gasoline glossed
there, and blazed our tongues in flame.
Some flings end in treason, but us? Untreatable.
A terminal-born pair, or a friendly fire mind-lapse
maybe, or unlucky like some preexisting virus
dormant until we turn on, shocked into being
together. What love would’ve healed us,
when our love roused with risks like
sore throats, rain checks, fever dreams,
and sly limbs so eager to fall asleep?

A different one. A fantastic love.
Ours knew nothing but to keep herself alive.