You try to define a self for years, exercising a mind and body which seem oddly rebellious ginst the self they comprise. A third party is not forthcoming. Your most cerebral moments are interrupted by hunger - and in the gasp of stubbing a toe on the way downstairs in search of bread or peanut butter, ideas burst like rockets in the black sky of a pain-blanked mind. This division is inherent in every language you've inherited, so much so that you dream of introducing them, bringing them together, hoping they'll hit it off and wed two entities into one; a union as effortless as silvery indivisible fish, dancing through the water they both inhabit and breathe.

Breathe, to nourish yourself. Breathe, to help with the pain. There is this much you can do to pull yourself out of panic. The life you circumscribed is asserting itself and this, this is the last time your bodies will work in concert and this is pain. Hands squeeze yours from beyond a haze - indistinct or too distinct. They urge you to breathe - they have nothing else to say, understanding is limited and language never did help - breathe. It won't go on forever. There are some things you can control, but not stop. Closed eyes make all sounds clearer, and the sensations inside and out that say, now. now. now. now. time to stop wondering, that's when.

When the child was a child, words like 'enskinned' and 'circumscribe' sounded like a different language - and perhaps they were. The limbs and voices of others were just as alien and familiar as yours.

Your fingers clench without thinking on the warm skin of the beloved. His back. Words useless, just the sounds of ragged breathing, encouragement, endearment. I am most at home when my body plays against your body.

Body play -
Remember testing the reflexes? The utterly laughable mystery of the struck knee kicking skyward. Watching closely a fallen child to see shock and amazement pucker and finally burst into red-faced shrieking bloom? It is experimentation - look what can be predicted, not controlled. Standing on hot asphalt, barefoot, to see who could resist jumping off longest. Fingers in flame. And of course, underwater endurance. Perhaps with eyes open and imagining a life below, examining suddenly-spectral fingers and fuzzed-over rocks and slanting sun - all this to distract, try to fool the body into forgetting that growing explosive urge. Then bursting back into the sun, eyes watery and unclear, ears full of now-distinct surface noises & the sounds the water and your gaping makes.

Makes you wonder, sometimes, how living within it you hardly notice the balance struck, how flexible and permeable the boundaries. Today you are ready to die. Yet another new thing. It's almost as a presence within you, moving with you, breathing with you, finally you.