That First Time

by Sam Rasnake

            “like a relic of a holy swim”

                                    — Frank Stanford


Hearing you read these words,

your breath displacing like water

everything I'd learned, your voice

exactly what I imagine the deep


walls of space must have felt when

God spoke the first time in a language

completely new and ancient, like

a fence post leaning toward creek


bank, tiny fish in a shimmer against

cool stone, wind in magnolia leaves

a gift for the sun to ease itself into

while a chorus of cicadas remind


the world of its dark beauty and

summer of its rest, like thread

slipped to the tongue by determined

fingers before being pressed through


the needle's eye, the sleeve's tear

waiting for loops to make it whole,

for my life to unwind itself like

a spool left in a closed drawer