The Words at the Start of the World

She looked like she was supposed to be there, under the blanket, on top of the mattress, outside my apartment building, sleeping with her hair haloed around her head at eight in the morning.  Her face, half-hidden by her left arm, looked like a boy’s face, a little boy grown old before his face had had a chance to catch up.

In her open mouth, you could just see the tip of her tongue and the blackness stuck in behind it.  At the root of that darkness were the beginnings of words, getting ready to greet the morning.  They were like the words at the start of the world, waiting to be said, before the humans had arrived to speak them.  They were the words in my mouth too, seeing myself, later that day, reflected in the window of an underground train, holding my face, grown old before it was ready, and whispering, I want to live, I want to live, I want to live.

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