She keeps her fragile heart hidden under lock and under key.
Where no other eyes have roamed, the organ pulses steadily—
and if you saw her on the street, you would not suspect a thing:
oh, she will laugh and she will smile when you expect a pleasentry;
and if your hardships you confess, her arms will open to your plea;
and if you share a secret, you can see a twinkle in her eye—
but if you ask her what she feels, her smile will fade and turn to lies.
She keeps her fragile heart buried in the earth with her regrets,
in a chest carved out of bone, brushed clean and stripped of caging flesh,
its flourishes long worn, bright edges dulled by years’ neglect,
obscured by decades of damp soil and the unforgiving elements.
If she ever took a shovel to her garden, she would know
that the hinges still screech open through the rust and, though it’s slow
that her heart, untouched by ages, is unbruised, unbroken and
that it continues trembling, shaking, shuddering for hope,
and perhaps its calls to her she does not truly understand.
Perhaps she does not notice as the ages play their tricks:
how the blood within her veins has slowed and trickles cold and thick,
or how the secrets she has learned mean no more than simple words,
or how she shivers, now and then, for reasons she cannot confirm.
And yes, perhaps it’s true that when you ask her heart’s desire,
she is sincerely ignorant, her silence uninspired—
for after all the years in which her heart has been entombed
how could she know herself, her wants, her needs, but to exhume?
Her heart remains protected in the earth beneath her flowers,
cradled by decay and death and rebirth and the powers
of gravity and time: though our globe spins through endless space,
unimagined in its speed, tearing the sky in its harsh wake,
her fragile heart, locked tight and sealed, at least, she knows, is safe.
And that, she tells herself—pulse never rising to the pace
of anger or anxiety, of fear or love or hate,
unburdened by the heavy pressure of sincere remorse,
no unexpected moment ever skipping in its course—
is all that matters, so long as her heart remains secure.