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Talking Before Dawn

By Rebecca Billings

Before you go,
you should know that
they won’t understand—except the smallest hayseed.

You will lay your head on the cold lap of a rock
in wrinkled trees
and bleed out
while your white knights sleep on in each other’s arms.

You will go, and you will tread the winepress alone.
Your poet will say that.

They will forget, again and again and again and again.
And they will leave you.
You should know that.

But you will know that some have their heads seared away
for you.
Some will raise high, golden swords.

But most will split the doves
with hammers.

To love these, and to go, is to know.