(at last at last)

From your first step toward me
     I sprang to life, though stood
          stock still, our gazes locked.
You ambled up, I couldn't move.
     My swagger stopped.
          My breezy bravura
went windswept plain. I stood
     and let you come. For months we talked,
          but the chair you occupied sat
so far, you were an island oasis
     I couldn't reach. I barely heard the words
          your lush mouth shaped, just thirsted
for your breath to come
     easing down my lungs. Each time
          that mouth politely said goodnight
and turned so I could throw the bolt--
     upon that door, I'd softly bang my head.
          until you asked (at last at
last) if you could browse my face
     as if it were page or sacred tome.
          From then, the crosswalks told us go,
the maitre 'd's right now. From that first step,
     I had to stop the turning world
          to breathe you in,
and now some nights
     tend toward you whom
          I never was intended for.

[Mary Karr {1955- }, 'The First Step', from Sinners Welcome: Poems]

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