Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Big Heart, Little Heart

I’m in a cabin built for a movie

where different parts will blow up

staged for different shots.

The closet glows

like heaven inside. Why do I

imagine an observer, the camera

lens waking like an eye?

Is it because in this dream,

I hear men in their work,

laying down wires to snake the foundation?

Authentic logs stack the walls

ready to thrum, tongued by flames.

I’ve cracked the window and wait

for an egg-like burial—which chamber,

which hall?

You hide in your work,

a woman once said to me

in front of an audience

as though I would vanish

like breath from a mirror

before her eyes. What did she know

about how I hid you,

as you strummed

the veins and foam

tidal in my belly

and fluttered like a silver fish?

A revision

of me, I used to think,

but as you tumbled

through my tissue

you all yours—yours—.

And whatever ghost that flicks

the curtain hem

catching the cooling breeze

in this room,

this studio, is me,

and I let it press its hands

heavy on my shoulders

like two slate slabs.

Step out of this place,

I almost hear. The air

settles for an explosion.

This way of letting things be.

All I want is a big heart.

If I could have one,

it’s not because my throat calls

from the flames

like the red bird too far away

to name in the smoke,

but because, for this

short time

your little heart

hums through the ruins

of me.  

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