(this is where a poem lived)
Stone fruit season is around the corner
but I’m in a whirl: panties in a wad,
lump in the throat. This was not the tornado
that threw an 80-ton train clear across the sky,
not the one that plucked the feathers
out of chickens and left them bald
and wild in a dusty Kansas field. One May,
J. and I tried to race a storm across the state line.
This was back when we were young enough
to smoke, litter, hope to live forever.
All these seasons later, I’ve learned little.
I still reach my hands into bins; it’s like
I believe I can squeeze the peaches into ripeness.
That which I once named an apple, once, a piñata, is actually a heart, a three hundred gram, four chambered, hollow muscle. There is heartache, heartbeat, heartblood, heartbound, heartbreak, heartbroke, heartbound. There is, upon eating firecrackers, heartburn. We can take heart, have heart, be heartened. One can be a hearter; it can be heartfelt. I can sit heartfully on the hearth, though I don’t. I can laugh until I cry, which I do. At night, I can feel my heart stop when I wake up afraid that on the other side of the wall my daughters’ hearts have stopped. Take heart, have heart. Be the woman holding her heart. Since the heart as metaphor is perhaps the most painful of all metaphors, you must separate the heart from the heart. It is the opposite of cake: you can have it and eat it too. Eat your heart out. Go on. Do it.