Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Your Heart

Now, after the fact, like a glitterbomb coroner,
I want to have another look at your heart.
My microscope went blind last time--
I squeezed it too hard, like a sponge when I'm angry-cleaning.
I was too fascinated, sappy,
needful as a driver in a wreck.

Bring me an ambulance in the shape of a spyglass.
I want to find my own ghost.

I thought your bones were made from hard cane,
your hair caramelized smoke.
I wore a white coat (as if I knew something),
glasses made from willow switches, and a half moon smile.
Relax, I told you, but it was me in the coma.

Now--please hold still for once. These worms aren't good,
like the plastic model I saw at the vet's. Your heart,
like the plastic kitchen I used to play with,
practicing to be a fly that would bite you one day.
Eat my attention, it's good for you.

Each worm burrowed there is something I said,
some of which I meant--the rest was practice for a role. 
Let me pull one out like a string, pull it and it speaks this poem,
a pretty wasp with a stinger where the truth pools. 

I am too harsh, I know. I am the laundress who bleaches everything,
a maniac for killing the invisible baddies, a hospital candy striper
performing unauthorized tests that do nothing, or at least,
don't cure or induce any useful fevers.
I have your results. I'll bring them down to the morgue where my
hand awaits its conclusions as if they were a ring or a nail.


they weren't worms,
just paper streamers.

I infected you
but it made you better for a while.

the microscope cannot be repaired.
my report needs to be presented in a recognized language.

i'm sorry, truly, if i hurt you
that was never my intention.

this poem is not written in my true voice.

i was never your babe.

that was never your heart.

Music: Igor Paspalj "The Thrill Is Gone"

for Desperate Poets "Illicit Encounters"


  1. Gah. So freaking good. It slays me. This is amazing writing. As always. But this one is over-the-top exceptional.

  2. As always some great imagery that wakes the complacent soul! Relationships are a complicated thing. Your lines nail that powerfully!

  3. Letters to the dead who litter the heart have the same address to and from, and if they're honest (enough, because language isn't really fit for speaking to dreams or the dead), the result is both missive and missal, autopsy and bitter balm. As here ... The "your" in the title looks both ways at once, first and second person, which we readers (as the third) must observe all the flaying and peeling getting to the heart of something which may be unknowable. Whither that "true voice"? Can any poem find it? I think it does here, but none of us should expect rose gardens or a gold-plated Oscar? Truth stinks. You and Hedge brought the heavy artillery to the week's desperate challenge.

  4. That first line is a gutpunch and it sets the tone for the voice of the whole--alienated, but oh so familiar in its emotional plaints and its unanswerable questions, its hypothetical but too real arguments and its devastating conclusions. I have a tag at my place called 'forensics,' which came instantly to my mind when I started to read this--the CSI of the heart that goes so far beyond the greeting-card values of love we are taught, down into the corpus delicious, the dead remains...just brilliant writing, Shay. I especially was struck by the third and fourth stanzas, and by the summing up and surpassing in the italicized lines at the end. So far over the bar that you've left this entire galaxy behind.

  5. Of course it wasn't. Amazing. No one writes like you.

  6. This is absolute quality surrealism and such a beautiful tumble of imagery and inferred wisdom. Love these:

    "Bring me an ambulance in the shape of a spyglass.
    I want to find my own ghost."

    "I wore a white coat (as if I knew something),"

    "...Your heart,
    like the plastic kitchen I used to play with,"

    "I am too harsh, I know. I am the laundress who bleaches everything,"


Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?