Back then I thought everything needed a heart:
the dots over the two little i’s in my name;
the lids of my art class clay pinch pots;
drawings of cats with too-long whiskers
riding on bright green trains that fell
right off the page. But then I learned

there are animals with no heart:
starfish, sponges, polyps, jellyfish –
all just underneath the surface of something
with nothing to pump, push, plead
they lift to the surface;
though how hard can it be to rise

up when it’s only water. I wonder
if there’s a metaphor here and yet
every single mummy had their brain smashed and pulled
from their head through their nose with a long, thin hook
while just their heart was left inside the cavern
of their chest; a hollow torso where no longer rested
their lungs, liver, stomach, guts –

and I have to wonder if the heart was lonely
having been left alone for all those years
wondering, too, if everything truly needed a heart
if it was always going to break alone


By Eileen Ellis

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