Elisabeth Hamilton The 2River View, 8.2 (Winter 2004)

Two years later I can say this.
You were not beautiful then, on the couch
in your parents’ condo, in your parents’ house,
in the square dark oven of your mother’s
den which you made hollow from sitting.
You were not beautiful when you told me
the knife was still where I left it, on
the counter, slightly rusted
and dull. Nor when you tied back
your hair with a scarf and brought
me shorts and tank tops to sleep in,
my period having soiled the underwear
I had on, had had on for three days.
You were not beautiful.
But neither was I.
What was beautiful was
the light I saw when I left the brick
of the hospital, which seemed to
carry the air with it:
cold for August, and bright, and sharp.