lock the door
and hide your heart."
Such were the final writings of Anne-April Prilly
From that point on,
she did not write.
From that point on,
she seemed to have taken her own advice--
gazing blankly at the babies her friends continually had,
and failing to make the required noises.
"What about it?" she would say,
turning away and folding her arms
when offered an infant to exclaim over.
Aztecs could have been mistaken for hippies.
A search of Anne-April's hallway revealed nothing,
save for a newspaper,
rolled up like a stethoscope on the parquet floor.
Through the unfortunate 70s and on into the 80s,
Anne-April remained unmoved.
Between her lungs, she tried keeping a sugar bowl,
but it was no use--
she was only hounded by collectors
who wanted complete sets, and not just the incidentals.
She also tried a plastic bear containing real clover honey,
but, nestled within Anne-April's warmthless bosom,
the honey spoiled
despite all assurances.
Finally, in 2006, Anne-April returned home,
using a skeleton key to get in.
She opened windows, bought art prints,
and even resumed writing.
She tried to find her old friends,
so that she could exclaim, if belatedly, over their children,
but the children were grown and scattered,
the friends wary, with medical alert devices around their necks
as if at any moment they might drop dead.
Naturally, Aztecs appeared once again in Anne-April's hallway.
Such dogged creatures!
She cracked the door and crooked a finger at one shirtless savage.
"In here, sailor," she said,
letting her robe slip off her shoulders.
She was old by then, but with angry gods to satisfy,
the Aztec wasn't sweating the details.
At least she had done her nails, fixed her hair.
Still, it was a dirty trick what she did next, snatching back her heart
with her last bit of strength.
Cradling it like a baby,
with bright red blood running down her forearms,
Anne-April was just glad to have found the thing she'd lost;
So glad, in fact, that she kissed the astounded illiterate brute
and meant it.