from “The Winter Vault”

from “The Winter Vault”

…Jean remembered the first time — in the cinema in Morrisburg — that they’d sat together in the dark. Avery had touched her nowhere but her wrist, where the small veins gather. She felt the pressure move along her arm, his fingertip still touching only an inch of her, and she decided. Later, in the bright foyer she was exposed, an invisible disarray; he had crawled a slow fuse under her clothes. And she knew for the first time that someone can wire your skin in a single evening, and that love arrives not by accumulating to a moment, like a drop of water focused on the tip of a branch — it is not the moment of bringing your whole life to another — but rather, it is everything you leave behind. At that moment.

It was as if, long ago, a part of him had broken off inside, and now finally, he recognized the dangerous fragment that had been floating in his system, causing him intermittent pain over the years. As if he could now say of that ache: “Ah. It was you.”

– Anne Michaels

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