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My Lover Strokes the Scar Between my Breasts Before We Fall to Sleep photo

People near me argue about the heart;
How often should one check for issues, how does one fix it.
Do you depend on the stress test failure or the failure
of your breath, the silence of the ventricles? When do
you rule out the heart as cause of the symptoms?

Under the ribs, between the lungs, where no periscope lives
to view the damage of long nights spent in cold underpasses,
the strain of doves pecking at wrists, the inhalation of
smoke after you’ve tangled your body with the addiction
of reassurance, that sweaty summer kind of breathing.

In the shower, you ask him to check your heart, hold it still
in effort to slow it down. Instead, you feel
tightness in the chest, a funny breathing, nauseated until he places
his hand over your heart, pulls you into his chest, your ear to
the left lung, then right lung. He asks if you can hear
the cracks, the rattle of a lone cigarette, the clinking of bottles
held in opposition of the doves pecking at wrists--asks if you know
the heart is never the issue. Asks if echoes are what sunshine leaves
when it is gone.

When it is gone, he asks if I will listen for the ventricles first.
Asks if my heart misses it’s second skin. Asks if I remember
the moment of the breaking, the breathing, the first crack.
Asks if I still hear it now. If I will ever hear it again.


image: David Wright