Tag Archives: Creative Writing at TCNJ

“It’s Not Simple, the Heart—” by Lois Marie Harrod

artery-fisted, three-pronged aorta
with its middle finger twisted up

yours and better be. Brachiocephaliac
to the right, left common carotid in the middle,

and left, the left subclavian: the blood-draggled glove
of a penniless troll, the knot

of a neglected vegetable, fennel, celeriac,
but the heart always left, left behind,

left below, and common, that too,
the neck, the head, and left again,

and yet it keeps on beating, who could guess?
Drum and drum skin, thick stick, complicit.

The complicated heart because complexity’s simpler
than simplicity? Think Bach:

his great heart with mitral and aortic valves all throbbing,
oh who loves him more than I, this year

when no one is performing Brandenburgs in public,
nothing now but the sound of the recorded heart,

played to calm an infant, sound’s knotted beauty,
septum, septum, do you not love the septum,

the separation, the beat between the beats,
dirt clot and fairy tubules, clenched face of an infant

dismissing what fed him, the ventricles, the valves
the Greeks thought we think with the heart?

The heart’s a hollow muscle.
Some days I want to think with mine too.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016. Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis and How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth, in 2013.  Widely published in journals and online, she teaches Creative Writing at TCNJ. Visit her website: www.loismarieharrod.org