The Historical Heart


Remembering everything, the heart, at last, breaks.

At first, in the undulating folds as my fetus came together

the cleft separated, a misaligned heart began, beating

days upon days. It remembered the fall, and mother

carrying me to hospital, the salt-air summers in Balboa –

running full ‘round the boardwalk. The heart worked hard

during polluted LA days, strained when angrily

I kicked a door in, but rested in the Sequoia, and rejoiced

in the wet grass meadows, morning’s sounds, quietude,

air ripe with Sierra smells. In the wanderlust days it took

in everything, loved men and women, small fissures erupted

when they moved on. The work of working, stress upon stress

angled in and targeted arteries. Family strife constricted

them: the relentless bullying and hurt over all those years.

Otherness took its toll, dark nights of longing, loneliness,

the hours exploring words, how they fit together,

opened my heart, secretly tapping singular letters

forming sounds to please it. Holding – everything inside

vise-like, constricting further the heart’s muscle. Death

had a hand in this: grandmother, mother, friends. Nights

with Tripp to assuage my heart until he too blocked

it from feeling for too many years forward. Were it not

for the other mothers, fathers, families, and grandmother

that kept it pulsing, my heart would be long dead.

They made it a sea, deep enough to weather storms,

until a day, when love settled home, opened me up,

and guided my heart’s tempest until it was repaired.

And now? All it/I feel is gratitude.

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