131: I Loved You Before I Was Born

131: I Loved You Before I Was Born

I Loved You Before I Was Born
by Li-Young Lee

I loved you before I was born.
It doesn’t make sense, I know.

I saw your eyes before I had eyes to see.
And I’ve lived longing
for your every look ever since.
That longing entered time as this body.
And the longing grew as this body waxed.
And the longing grows as this body wanes.
That longing will outlive this body.

I loved you before I was born.
It makes no sense, I know.

Long before eternity, I caught a glimpse
of your neck and shoulders, your ankles and toes.
And I’ve been lonely for you from that instant.
That loneliness appeared on earth as this body.
And my share of time has been nothing
but your name outrunning my ever saying it clearly.
Your face fleeing my ever
kissing it firmly once on the mouth.

In longing, I am most myself, rapt,
my lamp mortal, my light
hidden and singing.

I give you my blank heart.
Please write on it
what you wish.

"I Loved You Before I Was Born," from THE UNDRESSING by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2018 by Li-Young Lee. Used by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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