By Sharon Denmark
She was disguised
as a half-dead woman,
skin paled, no lipstick, IVs inserted,
a convincing costume. One October
we were hand-sewn clowns,
ruffled sleeves in yellow
and purple, noses red. She was disguised
as a mother. When she couldn’t speak for herself
I told anyone who would listen
her full name,
so she would become real again.
His heart sounded like a turn signal ticking
away a carefully charted course. The beetles
are back, scurrying across the kitchen
floor after dark, their hearts a series
of chambers nestled under the black curve
of their exoskeleton. Inside my
own unopened sternum my heart does
the best it can, though it startles easily.
If only I could shake a heart back to rhythm
like shaking static electricity
out of a shirt pulled warm from the dryer,
two quick snaps and everything’s settled.