Prose about the interaction of my heart and lost love.
|my heart and i have late night chats on the telephone. we discuss the day’s stresses and compliment each other on how well we handled them. we gossip about our friends. we worry about the future. we talk about you.
we talk about how much you used to make us laugh. how she would beat so much faster every time our lips were close. the past tense of “love” comes up a lot.
and then when it’s time for bed, i hang up and drag myself up the stairs.
stairs are my heart’s worst nightmare.
when i climb them,
she begins to complain again.
she feels so weak these days.
pumping blood through my body is a chore
she is tired of having to do.
i light a cigarette in bed and the smoke drifts inward with my inhale, forcing its way into my beaten, scarred lungs. the smoke peels back the flesh of the organs and pokes around for my vulnerable spots. the smoke carves its name into my sternum - my heart sees it every sunrise in her little apartment by the river.
the smoke, i named him after you. my heart can’t stop seeing you as a shadow through the shower curtain. can’t stop your name from rolling off her tongue when she laughs. my heart has to reapply the super glue to her pulmonary valve every night before bed. my heart doesn’t have the courage to look at the sunrise anymore. she keeps her blinds closed, keeps her curtains drawn. she even bought a pair of expensive sunglasses that are supposed to change how you see the world. she wanted to see it without you. my heart hasn’t been gathering blood cells in the fields like she used to, my doctor says i’ve got something called coronary artery disease. i tell him he’s wrong, i tell him what i’ve got is a heart with a broken rib or two. a misplaced valve or two. i tell him my heart functioned just fine before you.
i tell him my heart is a smoker, by which i mean, i am a smoker but my chest hurts when i do so.
i light a cigarette and my heart feels better for a second - feels alive for a moment, feels like the smoke is kissing her from her aorta to her interventricular septum and when the smoke is gone, absorbed by the curtains and rugs, she collapses and tries to hold herself in, tries to find her way into the eggshell white walls of urban-apartment living
i tell my heart: this is the end of love.
the end of love feels like lonely.
lonely being the vacuum inside your chest,
cleansing you of the dead
butterflies in your stomach.
except my vacuum doesn’t have
strong enough suction.
my heart cannot handle another loss.
my stomach cannot stand
any more dead butterflies building up.