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.